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Mk-82 500 Pound Bomb Detonates in AZ Scrapyard

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The Arizona Republic is reporting on this incident which occurred earlier this week:


TUCSON — U.S. Sen. John McCain wants the Department of Defense to explain how a 500-pound military bomb wound up in a scrap yard, where it partially exploded and killed an employee trying to cut into it.

Daniel Wright, 46, died in the explosion Wednesday afternoon at the Tucson Iron and Metal yard, which handles recycling materials, Tucson police said.

The ordnance was an MK-82 general purpose bomb, according to police, who said Thursday that detectives still were investigating how it ended up at the scrap yard.

McCain, R-Ariz., said he is "extremely concerned about the tragic death" of the scrap yard worker who was killed as he tried to dismantle and dispose of the bomb.

In a letter sent Thursday to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, McCain said it was "imperative for the Department of Defense to explain how this unexploded ordnance made its way into a civilian place of business.

"As a matter of national security, as well for the safety of the American public, this issue demands appropriate attention by the department's senior leadership," McCain wrote.

The MK-82 bomb, used by the Air Force and Navy, is about 5 feet long.

The bomb squad at nearby Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was called in to help with the investigation.

Base officials said Davis-Monthan doesn't take any ordnance to scrap yards.

"Ordnances are not metal to be reused for recycling," said 1st Lt. Erin Ranaweera, a base spokeswoman.

Here is an image that shows what a Mk-82 looks like before loading on a B-52.


Mk-82 500 Lb Bomb.jpg


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yeah, been hearing about this... got some friends over at Davis-Monthan. in all honesty its pretty scary that this was able to happen...

"America shall win the war. Therefore, I will work. I will save. I will sacrifice. I will endure. I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the whole issue of the struggle depended on me alone." -Martin A. Treptow Jake L.


Heaven help me, how I miss my friend

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Some scrapper probably drove out into the desert bombing range and picked up a UXO to turn in for the metal. They may have just thought it was a dummy.


I have dummy ordnance in my collection that has come from local scrap yards. All of it is painted blue unless it is just a spent casing.

Always looking for WW1 28th Division; anything, papers, field gear, uniforms, etc.


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Too bad that happened to the guy. I wonder why he was cutting it with a torch, I would think it was small enough as is or could have been cut with the shear on an excavator? All the scrap yards I've gone to lately want 4ft or less but really they just seem use that as a reason to pay the unprepared price, if the longest dimension is shorter than the width of the trailer it all seems to go together so the length of the bomb should have been fine.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

I responded to the scrap yard incident in Fontana Ca in 1996. The guy who died was attempting to cut the spike off a 105mm HEAT round. It was in a pile of 120mm HEAT practice rounds that were scraped from Fort Irwin. When we arrived, the ordnance scrap was chest deep and we had to clear a path to the dead guy. We spent over three weeks searching through over 350 tons of ordnance. We were still picking up body parts till the end. March in SOCAL and brain matter make an interesting smell!



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Here is the article I mentioned. Man do I shake a lot, being blown up a bunch has taken a toll on my nerves! LOL


I will try and get a better shot later.


But I do remember a scraper got pulled over by the police on I-15, we were called out. We arrived on scene to find a full size school bus packed from front to back top to bottom with Ordnance Scrap. He drove into Leach Lake from the north to get the scrap from Fort Irwin. We asked to blow up the bus because all the crap inside. But they wouldn't let us! LOL






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