Patton's desert training area everyone's playground now
May 2, 2012
LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. -- The Formerly Used Defense Sites program wants everyone to get acquainted with the 3Rs; recognize, retreat and report. 3Rs for a straight forward approach to explosives safety.
To raise public awareness about the danger of un-exploded ordnance, a team of Corps employees and contract partners have set up shop at numerous special events in what was once the California-Arizona Maneuver Area.
"Even people who live near FUDS don't really know, so this is a nice way for us to reach out to a high number of individuals," said Stephanie Baldwin, Bristol Environmental Remediation Services. "It's nice because it's an informal engagement."
Not long after the gates opened, a gentleman walking by the FUDS display pulled out his smart phone to show the team a picture of his desert trophy... a 155mm howitzer round (complete with fuse) that he has had in his garage for about two years. Too late for "recognize" and "retreat" the team went straight to "report" and asked him to dial 911 immediately.
"Since most of the former C-AMA lands are now managed by Bureau of Land Management, we have folks take a short survey that provides information on what types of activities (ATV, motorcycle, hiking, hunting) they participate in on public lands and where they have seen ordnance. The results of these surveys allow the Corps to provide more targeted outreach to those most likely to encounter ordnance," said Baldwin.
In the early 1940s, Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., used C-AMA's approximately 12 million acres to prepare a million troops for desert warfare. There are more than 25 separate FUDS designations within C-AMA and thousands more nationwide.
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series event at the Lake Elsinore Motorsports Complex gave them access to roughly 12 thousand fans and avid off-roaders. The lake is in proximity to the C-AMA and during World War II it was used by amphibious airplanes as a training ground.
To learn more about the program visit http://www.fuds.mil.