Of Seaweed and Semtex

Last month’s tsunami raced over Draughon weapons range near Misawa Air Base in northern Japan, rendering the bomb range unusable for USAF and Japan Air Self Defense Force aircraft. The massive wave breached protective berms, erased roads, and swept targets out to sea. Paving the way for reconstruction, explosives ordnance disposal airmen of Misawa’s 35th Civil Engineer Squadron last week completed the first step, clearing the beach and 1,900-acre bomb range of potentially dangerous ordnance unearthed by the torrent. “The tsunami moved known munitions and also uncovered a few,” said EOD superintendant MSgt. Garet Vannes. He added, “It also flattened most of the protective safety earthen berms.” With flight operations on hold, airmen are rebuilding as quickly as possible so that USAF and JASDF pilots can utilize the range once again to remain proficient. (Misawa report by Erica Picariello)