By Will Ravenstein, 1st Inf. Div. Public AffairsApril 10, 2019
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Soldiers of the 774th Explosive Ordnance Disposal, 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, responded to Pleasanton, Kansas, April 4 to dispose of a 90-pound Civil War Era mortar round at the Trading Post Museum.
"We don't really get that many calls for something like that," said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Pate, 3rd platoon sergeant, 774th EOD, 1st Inf. Div. Sust. Bde. "It's very, very rare -- especially now. The things are so old, there's not many of them out there in the environment."
The 774th Explosive Ordnance Disposal team worked alongside community partners in Linn County to safely remove and dispose of the mortar.
"It was nice, everybody was cooperative, informative and friendly," Pate said. "It was definitely a good experience. Everybody was trying to help us out the best they could to get everything safe and disposed of."
The experience is also an example of how to handle a situation when unexploded ordnance is found, Pate said.
"If, at that point, you are suspecting that you have something that might be alive UXO -- you definitely need to call the authorities," he said. "The authorities will check it out and then if they think it is an actual live [explosive] they will give us a call as well. Most local authorities have some sort of [standard operating procedure] that they follow, that once they get out there they'll end up call us. We will come out there, take a look at it and verify whether or not it is hazardous. If it is we will take care of it from there."
The call for the EOD team came after a visitor noticed a fuse in the mortar and alerted museum officials. The 90-pound mortar was donated to the Trading Post Museum, officials said, and has been on display for 20 years.