NPA teams safely remove and destroy two 500-pound aircraft bombs found in A Shau Valley near Hue City, Vietnam
This week, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team of Norwegian People’s Aid Vietnam’s Explosive Remnants of War Risk Reduction Project (ERRP) in partnership with Thua Thien Hue Province safely destroyed two items of U.S. MK82 aerial bombs, each item weighed 500 pounds, at their demolition site in Tan Hoi Village, Dien Loc Commune of Phong Dien District.
While responding to an earlier bomb sighting reported by locals in A Linh Village, Hong Kim Commune of A Luoi District, the EOD team uncovered two unexploded bombs lying in two different deep and steep canyons in the mountain which is about 10 km from the district center.
A rural district of Thua Thien Hue Province, A Luoi is located west in the highly mountainous area of A Shau Valley that borders Laos. During the 1968 Tet (Lunar New Year) Offensive, the A Shau Valley provided Northern Vietnamese Army troops an important shelter from which to launch attack against South Vietnamese cities and military bases, especially Hue and Phu Bai. It was one of the most bombed and shelled areas. Many mountains in the A Luoi region became historic in the mid-late 1960s during the American - Vietnam War such as the Battle of A Shau and A Bia Mountain (also known as the Hamburger Hill).
The EOD team received technical assistance from National Technical Advisor Bui Trong Hong who currently works for NPA - managed Project RENEW in Quang Tri. He visited the site to assess the two bombs’ actual conditions. After Hong confirmed that these devices were safe to remove, EOD team members prepared necessary arrangements and made an access path in order to haul the two bombs up to the main road for transportation.
Team effort paid off on Sunday when they managed to remove and transport these large bombs to NPA’s Controlled Demolition Site in Phong Dien District for safe disposal, after traveling about 150 km from the A Luoi Mountains.
“We expanded our EOD operation into A Luoi District in October 2015 and since then our teams have conducted more than 10 EOD spot tasks in response to UXO discoveries reported by villagers,’ said Le Xuan Hoang, interim Operations Manager of ERRP. “As a result, nearly 100 items of unexploded ordnance have been safely destroyed by our EOD team, ensuring the safety for the local children and adults,” Hoang added.
Implemented in 2013 under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between NPA Vietnam and Thua Thien Hue Province, the ERRP provides EOD quick response to UXO call-ins reported by the local communities province-wide and conducts Non-Technical Survey, Cluster Munitions Remnants Survey, and Battle Area Clearance operations in two districts of Huong Tra and Phong Dien.
In addition, ERRP clears football fields sponsored by Football For All in Vietnam, a cooperative project between Vietnam Football Association and the Football Association of Norway. Since its inception, ERRP teams have cleared over 756,000 square meters of land for development purposes and safely destroyed over 4,000 items of UXO.