Live mortar round found in Carter Co. backyard ‘could be anywhere from WWII to the Vietnam War era’


CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – What started as a household chore turned into a long and scary situation Sunday night for one Carter County family.

The Davis family moved into their new home off Highway 91 in Elizabethton back in March. The past months have been full of settling in and getting organized, but this past weekend prompted them to take on a task they had been putting off.

Victoria Davis’ husband went out to clean the barn on the back of their property and what he found inside was shocking. Along with a number of antiques, he found a live bomb wrapped in a blanket and tucked away in a box.

“He came in and was like you won’t believe what I found and I was like what is it and he told me and I was like no way. No way,” said Davis.

She told News Channel 11 they immediately notified police. The Carter County Sheriff’s Office, Johnson City bomb squad, and the 52nd Ordnance Group out of Fort Campbell all responded to the call with deputies arriving initially a little after 6 p.m. Sunday.

Officials with the 52nd Ordnance Group which handles explosives disposal said the round was identified as a 60-millimeter mortar round which is one of the smaller rounds. They said it could be anywhere from WWII to the Vietnam War era and was considered live. It was taken to an explosive range and detonated.

A spokesperson with the Carter County Sheriff’s Office told News Channel 11 it was detonated at the county’s landfill.

According to Davis, her husband was able to look up the serial number found on the mortar round online, and based on his search, he believes it was from the 1940s. Regardless, it’s a night they’ll never forget.

“It’s just something crazy you never thought you would find and it’s been out there all this time since we’ve owned the place,” said Davis.

While finding live ammunition on your property can be shocking, it’s not out of the norm. Officials with the 52nd Ordnance Group said they receive calls to identify and dispose of items like this a few times a year.

If you do find ammunition, you’re urged to always treat it as if it’s live and immediately contact authorities.

The 52nd Ordnance Group responds to calls similar to this to locations in the vicinity of Fort Campbell.

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