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Martha’s Vineyard: Sun, Surf And Bombs?03:55
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Workers at a Munitions Response site on Martha's Vineyard (CorpsNewEngland/Flickr)
Workers at a Munitions Response site on Martha's Vineyard (CorpsNewEngland/Flickr)

Martha's Vineyard residents have been hearing a lot about the "three Rs" lately. "Recognize," "retreat," and "report" are instructions from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and have to do with undetonated bombs that could linger under the island's surf and sand.

A 100-pound bomb found at Wasque Point in 2008. (CorpsNewEngland/Flickr)
A 100-pound bomb found at Wasque Point in 2008. (CorpsNewEngland/Flickr)

Over the past two years, several small rocket mortars and two 100-pound bombs have been discovered on the Vineyard.

Though that might be surprising news to tourists, leftover bombs actually makes sense, given the island's military history. From 1941 to 1947, the Navy leased hundreds of acres of the island for aerial bomb practice operations. While the practice bombs weren't attached to live ammunition, they did carry spotting charges that produced a flash or smoke upon contact with the ground. It seems, however, that not all of those spotting charges went off.

Cape Poge, South Beach and Tisbury Great Pond on the island are now the focus of a $5.2 million federal search for leftover munitions.

Carol Charette, project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says this is not the first time the Vineyard has been the target of a federal investigative search for munitions.  Previous searches took place in 1989 and 2009 at these sites, and current field work will last until June 2011.

Guest

  • Carol Charette, project manager, United States Army Corps of Engineers

This segment aired on December 15, 2010.

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