Bombing Range Road Gives Up Another Old WWII ‘Bomb’
Part of Bombing Range Road was closed Monday while the Richland Bomb Squad dealt with another of what was likely a World War 2 relic.
West Richland Police didn't say who found the item, or specifically where it was located, but said the "device was very old" and may or may not have been inert--meaning it might not have been able to explode.
Most likely it was some sort of World War 2 ordinance, probably a smaller practice bomb that was dropped during the war and never got dug up or noticed.
Before all the development, it's hard to imagine that the whole region along Bombing Range Road was a target practice site for pilots from the Pasco Naval Air Station. They used smaller bombs (usually 100-250 pounders) to practice their aim. Sometimes these weapons didn't always explode and have laid there for decades.
There are also a few remaining chunks of old concrete structures that were painted with targets. Most of them are gone, but years ago you could still find them. Some had rows of bullet marks, caused by strafing runs by the Naval pilots. This picture, courtesy of the Franklin County Historical Society, shows WW 2 Hellcat fighters at the Pasco Naval Air Station. From here, these pilots went to their assignments aboard aircraft carriers in the Pacific Theater.
Back in 2003, there was an effort to salvage a 12-foot by 7-foot chunk of concrete that was an original WW 2 target--complete with a hold in the middle. The then Mayor of Richland led that effort.
The object found Monday was destroyed later by the bomb squad. Most of the old bombs etc. have been found, but every now and then one gets unearthed or discovered; reminding us of the interesting history and the reason why it was named Bombing Range Road.