Army EOD technicians destroy unexploded round discovered on Gettysburg battlefield

By Walter T. Ham IVFebruary 9, 2023

Unexploded Ordnance
U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians from the 55th Ordnance Company (EOD) were called by Gettysburg National Military Park Rangers after an unexploded round was discovered during an archaeological dig in a rehabilitation area. The 3-inch Burton Case Shot was safely transported to a local disposal area and destroyed by detonation. Courtesy photo. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

GETTYSBURG, Pa. – U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers safely removed and destroyed an unexploded round discovered at the Gettysburg National Military Park, Feb. 8.

EOD technicians from the 55th Ordnance Company (EOD) were called by Gettysburg Park Rangers after the unexploded ordnance (UXO) round was discovered during an archaeological dig.

The National Park Service closed nearby roads after the discovery.

Staff Sgt. Alexander J. Campbell, the EOD team leader, and Staff Sgt. Samartha Sharma, the EOD team sergeant, made the 92-mile trip from the company headquarters on Fort Belvoir to Gettysburg and arrived within an hour and a half after receiving the call. Campbell is originally from Bryan, Ohio, and Sharma is from Omaha, Nebraska.

Campbell identified the UXO round as a 3-inch Burton Case Shot and determined that the item was safe to transport to a local disposal area to be destroyed by detonation.

After the area was declared safe, the roads were reopened.

Capt. Matthew D. Booker, the commander of the 55th Ordnance Company (EOD), said the UXO round was probably from the Civil War era.

“This type of munition was historically used during the Civil War and most likely came from the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863,” said Booker.

This wasn’t the company’s first UXO response in Gettysburg. In August 2022, the Army EOD company responded when an unfuzed 3-inch Hotchkiss Shell was lodged in a historic building that was being refurbished.

The 55th EOD Company enables military operations and supports the U.S. Secret Service. The company also covers domestic explosive mitigation missions in most of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, half of Pennsylvania, part of Washington D.C., and part of West Virginia.

The 55th EOD Company is part of the 192nd EOD Battalion, 52nd EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier all hazards formation.

Soldiers and Army civilians from 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 16 bases in 19 states to confront and defeat the world’s most dangerous hazards.

Army EOD technicians respond when military munitions are discovered, both on and off post.

Booker said his company responds to approximately 50 UXO calls a year.

“The more we support organizations, the more they trust our company's ability to professionally and safely handle incidents,” said Booker, a Buffalo, New York, native, who has served in the U.S. Army for 13 years and deployed to Afghanistan. “It also doesn’t hurt that Staff Sgt. Campbell enjoys history and got a pretty good summary of the battle that happened there from the Park Rangers.”