Munitions associated with Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Training Base Formerly Used Defense Site
Jacksonville, Fla. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractors discovered 11 munitions with a potential explosive hazard in Indian River County, south of Vero Beach. The items, five 500-pound general purpose bombs, four Tiny Tim (11-inch demolition rocket) warheads, and two 7.2-inch rockets are more than 100 yards offshore, in approximately 15 feet of water,. The contractor discovered the munitions while conducting an offshore removal action to address debris associated with past military activities at the former Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Training Base.
This week contractors will lift the items from the sea bed and will transport them approximately one mile offshore to a designated disposal area for future underwater detonations. To ensure the safety of the public and surrounding properties, local residents and visitors will be asked by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office to leave the area while work is underway between 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20th and Friday, Aug. 21st.
Road and Beach Closures:
On Thursday, Aug. 20th the eastern sections of Windward Way and N. Southwinds Blvd., and the beach area due east between Galleon Dr. and S. Southwinds Blvd. will be closed to the public.
On Friday, Aug. 21st the road closure will only include the eastern portion of Ocean Ridge Circle and the beach area extending east of E. Sandpointe Place and the north end of Seaway Court, extending south to Anglers Cove.
Road and beach closures will occur from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the 20th and 21st; but they will be limited to the small areas described and should not impact local traffic or beach access in other parts of North Hutchinson Island. Land areas will be patrolled by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office and the water areas will be patrolled by the Fish and Wildlife Commission to ensure maximum safety for the public.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been working through an ongoing process to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. The training activities that occurred at the former Fort Pierce U.S. Naval Amphibious Training Base during World War II (WWII) on North Hutchinson Island were critical to the Allied Force's successes during beach invasions in Europe and the Pacific.
“We greatly appreciate everyone’s cooperation while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers addresses some of the last remaining evidence of these historical activities in the local community,” said Frank Araico, project manager. “The purpose that these sites served in preparing our armed forces to protect our country is an important part of our history. Now it is just as important that we protect the safety and health of our citizens and environment by cleaning up what remains of that mission.”
The military used the Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Training Base, an area of about 19,000 acres between Vero Beach and Jensen Beach, during WWII for amphibious training and to develop and test procedures for breaching and removing beach fortifications. A variety of ordnance was tested against these fortifications.
“Safety is our top priority,” added Araico. “If you think you have found munitions, please follow the “3Rs” of explosives safety: Recognize that the object you have found may be munitions, and munitions may be dangerous; Retreat without touching or moving the object; Report what you have found by notifying local law enforcement or calling 9-1-1 immediately.”
For more information about the Formerly Used Defense Sites program in general, or the Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Training Base project specifically, please call 866-279-4880 or e-mail FUDS.FLORIDA@usace.army.mil.