When people talk about the legacy of unexploded remnants of war (ERW) in Vietnam, they generally think about the legacy of the tonnes of unexploded ordnance (UXO) that still litter the Central Provinces of Vietnam posing a risk to the surrounding communities.
On December 5th though, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team from Peace Trees Vietnam; who is undergoing training and mentoring from Golden West Humanitarian Foundation as part of the Golden West IMAS EOD Training program, were responding to an item of ordnance that was unfamiliar to them.
The Golden West IMAS EOD program has developed mainly from the successful, and ongoing program in the Solomon Islands since 2011. Reacting to the ERW legacy of the Second World War, the Royal Solomon Police Force have been trained to be able to respond efficiently and safely to EOD tasks dealing with both American and Japanese UXO from the major battles that were conducted on the Islands.
From the extensive experience that the Golden West Technical Advisors have gained working in all post-conflict theatres, they were able to identify the item as a 1940’s vintage, live, Japanese Type 89 50mm “knee mortar”. Fully fuzed and dangerous, the UXO was safely dealt with by the Peace Trees EOD team.
Luck has it that on the same day, Golden West and Peace Tree’s were visited by Emma Atkinson, Project Manager of the U.S. Dept. of State, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (WRA), who funds the ongoing work that Peace Tree’s and Golden West are conducting in Vietnam. WRA also funds the Golden West project in the Solomon Islands.
The disposal of this older item continues to show that the direct impact of the donor’s support, goes beyond dealing with the legacy of the better known conflicts that have affected the people of Vietnam; and this continual support and commitment is greatly appreciated by the affected communities and WRA’s partner organizations.