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Subdeacon Joe

Aged bomb in Kake gets official inspection

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“It was an annoying object when you stubbed your toe on it but a great conversation piece.”

 

Kake elder and magistrate Michael Jackson, Della’s brother, remembers the shell being in the family forever.

 

Jackson said the shell had been buried in Kake since 1869.

 

When a Kake resident was clearing property for the building of the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in the early 1940s, the 30-pound Parrott Shell and other shrapnel was found near a rotten stump with a hole in it.

 

“That was why it didn’t explode,” Jackson said. “It went through the stump and was laying on the other side of it.”

 

The late Thomas Jackson Sr., Michael’s father, became the caretaker of the shell and once said, “There will be a time this history and artillery shell will have to be brought out.”

 

The shell passed within the family without incident for decades until older brother Norman Jackson died in 2005. The shell stayed in his house because no one was staying there.

 

Recently a nephew wanted to move into the family residence and the shell came up in conversations with a Kake Village Public Safety Officer.

 

The VPSO contacted Alaska State Troopers in Juneau who contacted Homeland Security who then contacted an explosives unit at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage. The actions happened so swiftly, many in Kake feared the government was again trying to take away a part of their heritage.

 

“Our hope is it can be determined safe and can remain in the community,” Trooper Capt. Kurt Ludwig said. “We just want to err on the side of caution. Sometimes unexploded explosives that have been around a long time can be even more dangerous.”

 

An explosives ordnance disposal unit from Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage arrived in Kake on an Alaska State Trooper’s plane Thursday to investigate the shell.

 

The ordnance was deemed an unknown risk by the bomb specialists and will be left in private care until an expert munitions contractor can come into Kake to defuse it. The Organized Village of Kake will be working with Sealaska Heritage Institute to secure that contractor.

 

Jackson said after talking among the village elders and looking at historical protocols of the tribe, “Things need to be slowed down because we had a death in the village recently. The healing needs to be complete before we move ahead with the bomb. We had hoped that the bomb squad would stand down and just do an evaluation of it.”

 

“The bomb has just been sitting here. It isn’t going anywhere… we hope,” Jackson said.

 

A minor masterpiece of understatement there.

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Wonder how many 30# Parrot shells exist anymore?If safe, it's an amazing historical object. Should be from a Naval gun, I believe :blush:

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Wonder how many 30# Parrot shells exist anymore?If safe, it's an amazing historical object. Should be from a Naval gun, I believe :blush:

 

The Florida Park Service took possession of FT Zachary Taylor in Key West back in the 70s. I was fortunate enough to be there when excavation was underway.The fort had been heavily modified during the SpanAm war and most of the CW cannons and ammo had been buried when the walls were reinforced and 12" coastal rifles were installed. At the time the Navy was using it for a surplus equipment yard and had no idea of what was buried there. It turned out to be the largest depository of Civil War period ordnance in the country. There were Parrotts, 8 &10" Rodmans, Columbiads, Howitzers, etc etc. I still have a ball from a 9 stand grapeshot shell.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KylOPJv0WQg&feature=player_detailpage

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30 years or more ago. House across the street from a Jr. High School.

 

We had a salt works here, during the War Against Yankee Aggression, and they tried to take it from us. There was a small battle, offshore. Guy scuba-diving at the site, came home with a cannonball. It sat on his carport for several years. Kids played with it, using it as a bowling ball in makeshift driveway games. One day the new neighbors noticed it. Called the cops. Bomb Squad arrived. They took it away. Newspaper said it was live. Coulda gone off at any time.

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30 years or more ago. House across the street from a Jr. High School.

 

We had a salt works here, during the War Against Yankee Aggression, and they tried to take it from us. There was a small battle, offshore. Guy scuba-diving at the site, came home with a cannonball. It sat on his carport for several years. Kids played with it, using it as a bowling ball in makeshift driveway games. One day the new neighbors noticed it. Called the cops. Bomb Squad arrived. They took it away. Newspaper said it was live. Coulda gone off at any time.

Cannonball, huh... Live, was it... :mellow:

 

Gee... wonder if any of my lead muzzleloader balls are live... I better have 'em checked out! :huh:

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Cannonball, huh... Live, was it... :mellow:

 

Gee... wonder if any of my lead muzzleloader balls are live... I better have 'em checked out! :huh:

 

You might want to look at UB's link, where the EOD guys blew up fused cannonballs.

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You might want to look at UB's link, where the EOD guys blew up fused cannonballs.

 

Shell, actually. Or maybe case. "Ball" refers to solid shot. Although in common usage, yeah, ball.

 

Can't quite see what kind of fuse is used.

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Back in the early 80's, a father and son found a 750lb bomb at Fort Desoto Park in St. Pete, Florida. Fort Desoto was orginally called Mullet Key. Mullet Key was used as

 

a bombing range during WWII. Over the years, various ordnance has been found there. The father and son found the bomb after a storm blew through and were using a hammer

 

to beat the barnacles off of the object when a Park Ranger noticed them. He immediately stopped them, of course, and called the proper authorities who detonated it

 

several days later. I lived 20 miles north of there and you could feel the explosion as everything in the house shook and rattled. You could also hear the explosion

 

about an minute later. Judging from that, I would think twice about beating the barnacles off of anything I found in the waters around Fort Desoto.

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The term shot and shell refers to both solid and explosive ordnance.

Over the years, mostly thanks to Hollywood, cannonballs have become identified with explosive shells although in the 18th and 19th centuries "Ball" referred to a solid projectile. Bar and chain shot, which were solid balls linked together were used on ships rigging. Forts had hotshot ovens that heated balls red hot for an incindiary effect when fired on a wooden warship.

Bottom line is never mess with anything big, round, and heavy you find buried. Al;though I did find a bowling ball in the middle of a swamp once.

Got balls?

]I've got a pic somewhere of me standing in a crater from a WWII 250 pond he bomb that was found buried in the muck in central Florida back in 2005. The Air Force bomb tech blew it with a small charge. It was still really live.

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Ordnance this old will have a black powder filling and they can be rather safely demilled by drilling underwater with a Pneumatic drill and that is what should be done with things of an historic interest but it is so much easier to have the local EOD take em away (or blow in place if remote enough) and blow em to bits.... sad really

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