Search
Close this search box.

Eglin AFB to detonate WWII-era bombs found in Choctawhatchee Bay near Shalimar

Divers from Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) Six, Detachment from Panama City will dispose of unexploded ordnance (UXO) with controlled underwater detonations in the Choctawhatchee Bay Feb. 14, […]

Divers from Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) Six, Detachment from Panama City will dispose of unexploded ordnance (UXO) with controlled underwater detonations in the Choctawhatchee Bay Feb. 14, 2024, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

  • The backup date for the disposal is Feb. 15 if the weather is bad, there are people or water mammals in the area, or other safety concerns are identified by the responders, according to Eglin.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) environmental restoration contractors discovered two World War II-era UXOs off-shore at Eglin AFB’s Bay Range in Shalimar, Florida, near Two Georges Marina on Jan. 15, and a third UXO Jan. 29 during an Air-Force funded routine remedial investigation of the Bay Legacy Range.

  • The plan is to dispose of the 80-year-old UXOs, two 250-pound bombs and a 1000-pound bomb, the same day to minimize impact to the public. This disposal will not require residential or commercial evacuations and there is no danger to the public, according to a statement from Eglin.

“People, vessels, and water-based activities are required to remain clear of the safety zone during these mission times for their safety,” wrote Eglin AFB in a press release.

The safety zone includes all navigable waters of the Choctawhatchee Bay within an up to 2,050 yard radius of approximate position 30°25’52.57314”N,  86°35’08.49867”W, and a moving safety zone around any vessel involved with relocating unexploded ordnance.

The safety zones will be enforced during daylight hours on Feb. 14 and, if required, during the backup date of Feb. 15, 2024. The U.S. Coast Guard Destin and Okaloosa Sheriff’s office will have people in the area to prevent boaters from entering the safety zone.

  • “We have committed the required resources and conducted exhaustive planning efforts with our partner agencies to ensure the safe disposal of the UXOs,” said Col. Thomas Tauer, 96th Test Wing deputy commander.

The UXO disposal mission is a coordinated effort between the 96th Civil Engineer Squadron, the USACE Omaha District Military Munitions Design Center, the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center, the U.S. Navy EOD Mobile Unit SIX Detachment Panama City, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Programs, the U.S. Coast Guard Destin, the Okaloosa County Sheriff Department and its Marine Unit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“This has been a team effort throughout the process from discovery to planning how to dispose of these UXOs.  USACE, the Navy, the Coast Guard, Okaloosa County Sheriff Department-Marine unit, along with multiple state and county agencies have been extraordinarily supportive, and we greatly appreciate their partnership and professional assistance,” Tauer said.

6 Responses

  1. So I just got the automated call from Okaloosa County School District about the underwater release of a few WWII UXO tomorrow….so basically the chemicals that will be released will last how long in the water? When will it be safe to go swimming in Choctawhatchee Bay again & eat the fish again? I found this article posted by ScienceDaily back in November about the chemicals released in these blasts being toxic… you would think this area isn’t ideal to do this…why aren’t you prioritizing our local economy & safety….why why why Eglin Air Force Base????
    Check this article out…
    “Because of the potential threats to nearby marine life, the researchers encourage less invasive methods to remediate submerged World War II relics — like robotic techniques to open and remove abandoned mines’ explosive contents — to prevent unwanted explosions and contamination.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/11/231129142305.htm

    1. So, the alternative would be to attempt a relocation of an object that has been submerged in water for 80 years? The risk then becomes that the contents leak out as it is moved, leaving a trail of toxins. Or, that the bomb detonates while in the process of being moved risking lives.
      The wildlife here seems to be doing okay despite all the other toxins that are introduced by private and and commercial watercraft, and all of the uncontrolled “runoff” from construction projects around the coastline and from upstream.

      1. In the article I posted they recommended an alternative. “Because of the potential threats to nearby marine life, the researchers encourage less invasive methods to remediate submerged World War II relics — like robotic techniques to open and remove abandoned mines’ explosive contents — to prevent unwanted explosions and contamination.”

  2. The fishing will be effected , at this time of year the flounder are coming back into the bay and sounds.They leave in November and comeback in February. What are the chemicals going to do to the fishing industry, the dolphins? Why now ? What are they hurting after all these years . The water quality and the fish and mammals should be the first priority. I do not understand the timing!

  3. more and more pollution in the water here despite record numbers of cancers in the area. BP oil spill was years and years of poison.

Join the conversation...

Continue reading 👇

Community Comments

“1B................Let FWB grow.”
Respond
“Amazing article!!! Jared Williams is an incredible writer and this article captures the incredible things happening in our community! Thank you Jared! Linda Dugan”
Respond
“Awesome... The kind of people, that need a safe, affordable home for themselves and their families, without your judgment. .”
Respond
“Curious who is funding Gregg Chapel so he can build cheap housing here. Curious what kind of residents he looking for to move here.”
Respond
“This is extremely upsetting. I hope the parents of this young man sees this as a " Cry for Help" and move forward in getting him evaluated., into counseling with...”
Respond
“Will the Hurlburt golf course be open?”
Respond
“I really think this is a great idea. My only concern is what is planned at the base of the Destin bridge. I am not a proponent of any development...”
Respond
“Traffic signals have a definite limit to how many cars an hour can pass under them. The signal system downtown has been beyond capacity since 1990. To increase capacity additional...”
Respond
%d