Most tourists and residents of Hawaii have spent little time thinking about the danger of unexploded ordnance in Hawaii, but UXO poses a real injury risk throughout the islands. In December 2014, a swimmer in Kihei found an unexploded mortar round about 20 feet from shore. The swimmer proceeded to carry the item to shore and contact police.
The round was live and had to be taken by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team from Oahu. The beach was blocked off for about 100 feet around the unexploded mortar round. Every year in Hawaii, people find unexploded ordnance on our islands. Tourists, inquisitive children, and local residents are at risk of injury or death from UXO. These incidents have occurred in state parks, beaches, and other locations.
Where, Why, and How: Unexploded Ordnance in Hawaii
There are UXO cleanup operations in various locations, including the Waikoloa Maneuver Area, the largest site in the nation for contamination of UXO. The project to remove all UXO from the area is expected to take decades to complete.
There are several locations where the military was involved in war simulations in which live artillery, ammunition, and explosives were used extensively. There are challenges involved in cleanup, as much of the land is now privately owned. The Department of Health is urging landowners within areas where battle simulations took place to allow cleanup crews in. On the big island, there are over 100,000 acres (purchased from Parker Ranch) that require decontamination.
What To Do If You Suspect You Have Found UXO
- Do not touch any object that could be a UXO.
- UXOs come in a range of sizes, shapes, and types.
- The age and size of the object do not matter with regard to the danger.
- Old, rusted, or ancient looking UXO objects can still kill or injure you or your children.
- The item may not look dangerous but is.
- If you locate such an item, no matter how old, decayed looking, or small, follow the rules and retreat from the object to report it at once. Take note of the location so you can tell the authorities where it is.
Areas in Hawaii Where There May be a Risk of Unexploded Ordnance
What areas pose a high risk of finding a UXO? These items are found almost anywhere on the islands, with certain locations carrying the highest risk of the presence of UXOs of various types:
Hawaii – Big Island
Military Bases in Hawaii and UXOS
There are many military locations that could have UXOs, listed below:
- Hickman Air Force Base
- Bellows Air Force Base
- Fort Ruger
- Wheeler Army Airfield
- Kuliouou Target Range
- Olowalu Rifle Range
- Paukukalo Range Complex
- Pu’u Kapele Local Training Area
- Marine Corps Base Hawaii
- Schofield Army Barracks
- Kipapa Ammunition Storage
- Waiakea Forest Reserve
- Keukhana Military Reserve
- Maluhia LTA
- Nounou LTA
- MCB Hawaii
- Fort Shafter
- Makua Military Reservation
- Pohakuloa Training Area
- Schofield Barracks
- Waikakalaua Ammo Storage Tunnel
- Barking Sands PMRF
- Laulualei Navmag
- Pearl Harbor NS
Injuries and Deaths from Unexploded Ordnance
There have been many injuries and deaths associated with UXOs, including some people who were tasked with removing and detonating the shells. At least nine people are reported to have been injured or killed by old artillery rounds. Children are particularly at risk as they are curious and may pick up a live round, a live grenade, mortar rounds, bombs of various shapes and sizes, and other UXOs.
Call Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner and speak to one of our personal injury attorneys at once if you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a UXO. We are Hawaii’s trusted injury law firm, with 100 years of shared legal experience.
- Department of Health: Hawaii Department of Health Holds Free Workshop On Unexploded Military Ordnance (UXO)
- S. Army Corps of Engineers: UXO Safety Former Waikoloa Maneuver Area
- S. Army Environmental Command: UXO Info Sheet
- Hawaii New Now: Unexploded Ordnance Found on Maui Beach
- UXO News: State Regulators and UXO
- Honolulu Advertiser: Big Island Littered with Unexploded Ordnance