Fort Richardson team called to dispose of old grenade

Posted: Friday, April 07, 2000

KODIAK (AP) -- A bomb squad was dispatched here from Anchorage Wednesday to detonate an old grenade found on a popular beach during an evening walk.

Mike and Linda Satcher were walking with their daughter and grandchildren along the Buskin Beach at low tide Tuesday when Linda picked up what she thought was an unusual rock. She showed it to her husband, who immediately identified it as a grenade.

''It was real rusted and had barnacles and rocks stuck to it,'' said Mike Satcher, who spent two years in the Army. ''I brought it in to work to show Cy (Hoen, owner the sporting goods store where Satcher works), put it back in my coat pocket and then called the state troopers, figuring they'd just pick it up and send it somewhere to get checked out.''

But the situation warranted more than that, said Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Darlene Turner. The Mark II hand grenade, dating from the Vietnam War era or before, was most likely a practice grenade.

It wasn't the type of ordnance that could blow up a building, she said, but it was capable of taking off a person's fingers or hand.

''They are very unstable, especially the longer they sit,'' Turner said. ''If they have been in water, as soon as they dry out, they become extremely unstable.''

Because no one on the island was trained to dispose of explosives, a state plane flew in a team of U.S. Army explosive ordnance detachment soldiers from Fort Richardson.

Troopers and Kodiak police closed a 300-foot area around the sporting goods store, where the grenade sat in Satcher's coat pocket.

The team retrieved the grenade and put it in a special box for transport. It was taken to a Coast Guard shooting range, where it was detonated with plastic explosives.

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