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First UXO Found on Hill AFB Highlights Unique Thermal Treatment Method
Hill Air Force Base is home to a special unit that stands out amongst the units preceding it: the 775th Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit. The unit stands out because of its special thermal treatment method used to evaluate UXOs. Recently, the team was able to respond to this unexploded ordnance and deem it safe. Keep reading to learn more about the identified UXO and the impressive unit located at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
Suggested read: Visit the Hill AFB Museum, Utah’s Gem of Aviation
Unearthing the UXO
In an exciting bit of Hill AFB breaking news, a UXO was effectively identified on the flight line. In late May, contractors were doing routine rerouting for electrical lines when they unearthed it. This particular UXO was the first one discovered directly on Hill AFB. The Explosive Ordnance Unit was called in to deal with the object.
What Is UXO?
UXO stands for unexploded ordnance. Any kind of ammo that did not work as it was originally intended is defined as UXO. They are potentially dangerous explosives that need to be handled by a trained unit. They can typically be found on bases or at any previous locations for military testing or training. UXO should never be touched, moved, or handled by untrained professionals.
Professionals that handle the explosive and dangerous objects are the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units. They are trained to disarm and dispose of explosive threats in extreme environments. When UXO and ammo are found in situations like this, these are the units called in to handle it.
In this case, the 775th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit at Hill AFB took charge of identifying and safely evaluating the unearthed UXO.
The EOD immediately identified the object as a bazooka round. The label on the bazooka round stated it was from 1954, so it was believed to have been used at some point in the late 1950s. They used an innovative remote thermal treatment procedure to ensure the explosive had been fired and was not an imminent threat. When it was deemed safe, they decided to conduct further tests. They performed several x-rays on the round to further clarify and prove that it was safe.
After the bazooka round was cleared, it was donated to the Hill Aerospace Museum. For anyone interested in seeing the UXO that was discovered, the Hill Aerospace Museum is located in Utah.
The Thermal Treatment Unit
This EOD unit is special because of their use of a unique thermal treatment method. They are the only EOD unit capable of dealing with expired, damaged, or non-Minutemen III rockets. This is because they have the space and technology to tackle it.
The thermal treatment technology unit conducts their work at the Utah Test and Training Range. They also focus on clearing targets with old tanks and vehicles. Live ordnance is dropped and cleared in the range’s large, open space. They may also detonate any other hazards in the area if it’s safe to do so. All tests are done with the safety of the team in mind; no one is ever allowed to go out in the area until targets are swept and it’s safe to do so.
This Hill AFB news examines the impressive technology and tactics used by the unit. Thanks to their work, we can evaluate progress and advancement in the treatment of UXO. And, of course, we’ll also remember to never go near dangerous objects and ammo if we happen to come across them!
Image: USAF courtesy photo by 775th EOD