The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By A.J. Etherington
The Courier 

Live Mortar Round Turned in to VCSO, Device Detonated by Malmstrom EOD


Courtesy Photo VCSO / For the Courier

Photo of the mortar round turned into the VCSO before detonation.

The Valley County Sheriff's Office reported that a live training mortar was delivered to their office last Friday, June 1. The round, which was discovered in a basement in St Marie, was then transported to a safe location north of Glasgow. The Sheriff's Office notified Malmstrom Air Force Base, Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) who arrived in Valley County and detonated the device in a safe location.

According to Undersheriff Luke Strommen, the device was reported by EOD as an M502A2 spotting mortar. "It is black powder filled and used for target practice. Had a live fuse but was in a safe condition due to a safety pin still intact," said Strommen citing EOD personnel. The timing of the device was unknown as these training mortars have been in U.S. service for a long period of time.

Strommen said the last time he recalls Malmstrom EOD coming to Valley County was for a Japanese grenade that was reported by the family of a recently deceased service member in 2012. The grenade was also rendered safe by EOD via controlled detonation. That device was displayed on the mantle piece in the man's home for an unknown period of time.

The Valley County Sheriff's Office would like to inform the public that if they encounter an explosive device, whether it is believed to be live or not, the device should be left in place and 911 should be notified immediately so it can be handled by trained professionals. The public should not relocate explosive devices on their own and they should never be taken indoors.


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