US Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District Website

Osprey Bombing Range

During World War II, the military leased about 5,029 acres to establish an auxiliary bombing target for crews from Sarasota Army Airfield. The target, in Sarasota County about five miles north of Venice, consisted of three concentric rings centered within a hexagonal warning marker. The original mission of the Sarasota Army Airfield was to train B-17 bomber crews, but it became a fighter combat crew training station because of aircraft weight concerns. Crews used Osprey Bombing Range for low altitude glide and dive bombing, dropping practice bombs and incendiary bombs.

Following World War II, the Army no longer needed the target for training, so the target was removed, and the leases were terminated. The Interstate 75/State Road 681 interchange is in the middle of the former target area, and the Department of Transportation, other government agencies, and private entities own the land that comprises the Formerly Used Defense Site.

The site has been evaluated several times to determine if anything remains from the military's training. A 162 acre target area was established and includes the target location and a buffer around it. A Site Inspection was performed to determine if further evaluation of the site was necessary based on the past military use of the area. While no munitions or munitions debris (pieces of munitions) were found during the Site Inspection, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study to determine if anything remains in the area from the Army's training, and if so, in what amounts and locations.

RECOGNIZE - The object you found could be dangerous.
RETREAT - Leave the area without touching or moving the object.
REPORT - Call 911 immediately.