A cement-filled training bomb dropped during World War II caused a scare in Otero County after it was uncovered in a field this week. The weapon is one of thousands of dummy bombs dropped during the war when crews trained at La Junta Army Airfield. The site trained American, British, Chinese and Canadian crews on precision bombing before closing after the war.
The Otero County Sheriff’s Office called in bomb-disposal experts from Fort Carson to deal with the weapon after it was found in the Comanche National Grasslands.
“Most of the day was spent uncovering the bomb to determine what it may have contained,” the agency said Wednesday in a news release.
It was found to be a training bomb after Fort Carson troops, “had detonated a small explosive charge on the device.”
Hundreds of allied bombing crews honed their skills over the grasslands during the war.
The school specialized in training crews for twin-engine B-25 Mitchell bombers and four-engine B-17s. During the war, the La Junta base was one of the busiest airfields in America, with as many as 100 planes at the site.
As the war wound down, two fighter wings were sent to La Junta for inactivation. In 1946, the airfield was turned over to local authorities.
While the bomb turned out to be a training dummy, it caused a big stir for Otero authorities.
“The expertise and professionalism of the Fort Carson specialists and preventative measures from the fire department, to mitigate risk of fire, and damage to the environment were exceptional,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
*This piece was originally featured on the Colorado Springs Gazette.