Camp Lejeune officials warn people to avoid Browns Island after unexploded ordnance found

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Unexploded Ordnance on Browns Island

Camp Lejeune officials are warning people to stay away from Browns Island, between Onslow Beach and Hammocks Beach State Park, after more unexploded ordnance was found there on Thursday.

Since the 1940’s, Browns Island has been one of three “Impact Areas” at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, where soldiers conduct live-fire training with artillery, mortars, rockets, and machine guns.

According to the Camp Lejeune Globe, when Hurricane Florence hit Browns Island last September, it uncovered previously-buried, unexploded ordinance across the island.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael Pickartz, base explosive ordnance disposal officer, told the Camp Lejeune Globe there were four Mark 82 bombs found on Browns Island during a one-day sweep in October, 2018, each containing nearly 192 pounds of high explosives in them, totaling 768 pounds of explosives.

“At no time should anyone approach or move any ordnance on the island,” Pickartz said. “Just because something looks old and rusty does not mean it will not blow up.”

Camp LeJeune officials remind everyone who uses the Atlantic-Intracoastal Waterway of the following federal regulations surrounding Browns Island, which is considered to be part of the military base:

• Absolutely no unauthorized people are allowed on any part of Browns Island.

• Boaters traversing the Atlantic-Intracoastal Waterway in close proximity to Browns Island may not stop, tie up or disembark their vessels.

• No crab-pots, fishing with bottom dragging nets, anchoring, or any bottom disturbing activities are allowed anywhere in the vicinity of Browns Island.

• All navigable waters in the area between the south bank of Bear Creek and the north bank of Brown’s Inlet are base property and are strictly off-limits due to highly sensitive unexploded ordnance in this area.

• Bear Creek and Muddy Creek leading to the Intracoastal Waterway to Bear Inlet are open to unrestricted navigation; however an unknown element of risk exists in this area due to the possible presence of unexploded projectiles.

• Boaters may proceed through Browns Inlet without stopping during periods of nonmilitary use. For safety reasons, due to the presence of unexploded projectiles, any contact with the bottom of the waterways or any bottom disturbing activity is strictly prohibited. Caution should be used through these waters.

• Military Police in concert with U.S. Coast Guard will continue to regularly patrol the area and issue citations to trespassers that will require an appearance before the federal magistrate in Wilmington, N.C. Violators can be imprisoned up to six months and fined a maximum of $5,000.

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