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This is from the local paper. I watch the retrieval of these shells and others from my office window less than 150 yds. away. I thought it might be of some intrest especially the photos. I took a photo last week when I walked over and nosed but had to sneak it in so include the article photos as it is a better photo. Top row on left are three 105 type howitzer shells, a few mortor shells through out and a pile of what I thought was 20mm. Those were brought up in 5 gal. buckets and dumped.

9/28/2007 12:45:00 PM Email this article • Print this article

Military Shells Found In Trail Creek
Authorities believe WW II-era munitions, 160 artillery shells were likely never explosive.

Rick Richards
City Editor, The News-Dispatch

MICHIGAN CITY - During a recent clean-up of Trail Creek, among the 15.5 tons of metal debris removed from the water, was several hundred pounds of military munitions - including 160 artillery shells.

Mayor Chuck Oberlie said Thursday the munitions were first found during the Aug. 4 clean-up at the Peanut Bridge near Hansen Park.

"When we first started pulling it out, it was scary," Oberlie said.

The mystery, however, is where it came from. Oberlie said he has no idea and Jeffrey Brewer, a representative with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore, who was involved in a second clean-up of the site on Sept. 20, said he didn't know either.

"It's old stuff," said Brewer, adding the serial numbers on the shells have rusted away. "We're talking World War II-era stuff."

Brewer said he didn't want to speculate on how the shells wound up in Trail Creek, but said none of the material had been fired and landed at the location. During World War II, the Naval Armory was used by the U.S. Navy as a gunnery school, but no one knows if the material found in the creek is a result of that.

Oberlie said Thursday that when the munitions were discovered, the city contacted the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Navy. Both said the material posed no explosive risk.

"After we started pulling it out, it became sort of a headache," Oberlie said,

"because we knew we had to secure the area from souvenir hunters and figure out what to do with the stuff." The area was fenced off and a security camera installed. City police made frequent patrols of the area.

"We didn't get information out sooner," said Oberlie, "because we were waiting on the facts so we would know what to put out."

Most of the shells that were removed from Trail Creek were hollow or had a hole in them, Oberlie said.

"We had a pretty good idea they weren't live, but it was still pretty scary."

Oberlie said the clean up site was near a junkyard that used to operate along the bank of Trail Creek and it's possible the shells were dumped there for disposal. Most of the metal removed from the creek was scrap from the railroad which used to run on the Peanut Bridge, now part of a pedestrian hiking trail.

The shells are being disposed of by the miltary.

The mayor said that when the first shell was discovered, the Michigan City Police Department notified the Porter County Bomb Squad. The bomb squad requested support from the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind., south of Bloomington. Members of that unit identified 160 military practice munitions.

Since then, the mayor said the city, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Gov. Mitch Daniels, U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly requested the Army's assistance assuring the community was safe from any explosive hazard.

That resulted in a second clean-up of the site on Sept. 20, when U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ordnance and explosives safety specialists removed 38 more artillery shells from the creek.

The Army Corps of Engineers said in a statement, "ordnance and explosives safety specialists determined that nearly 200 discarded military munitions recently recovered from Trail Creek were debris from practice munitions that did not pose an explosive hazard to the public or the environment."

While the Corps of Engineers said it cannot be sure that all munitions have been removed from Trail Creek, Oberlie said he thinks the area is now free of old munitions.

Still, the Corps of Engineers has urged anyone who encounters a munition to not touch it and report it to 911.

"As we go forward, an informational sign will be installed along the banks of the creek advising citizens to report suspicious items," Oberlie said.

The mayor said residents who may have collected souvenir munitions over the years should turn them in for proper disposal by calling the Michigan City Police Department at 874-3221.

Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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The mayor said residents who may have collected souvenir munitions over the years should "turn them in for proper disposal "

Well, I don't live anywhere close to Michigan City, but I'll be flipped if I'll call any idiot cop about teh souvenir munitions I've collected over the years. Those include a piece of the casing of a 109mm bombardment rocket that I recovered from the floor of my hooch after it penetrated the wall (I wasn't in the building just then - good thing, too); the front third of a 3" (or maybe 75mm or 76mm) AP shot I found while I was at Fort Knox (solid steel, it makes a nice door stop); a dummy 20mm round (used to check feeding and chambering); an inert CBU bomblet my brother in law had and gave to me - he bought millions of them (except most of the ones bought for delivery were, of course, live. Don't have or want one of those)when he was a procurement officer for the USAF during teh Vietnam era and they had the inert examples for paper-weights and also for proofing proper patterning and dispersal (drop dummies, see if the spread right). Other things. One I don't have but wish I do was in the hands of a fellow LT when I was in Second Support Brigade in GErmany. Loading practice projectile for an 8" howitzer. A 200 pound solid bronze bullet. he had it sitting by his desk and polished it ever so often. Neat.
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