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    The dangers of Browns Island

    The Dangers of Browns Island

    Photo By Sgt. Makayla Elizalde | A sign prominently displayed warns people about the potential dangers on Browns...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Makayla Elizalde 

    Marine Corps Installations East       

    In between Onslow Beach and Hammocks Beach State Park lies Browns Island, one of three major Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune impact areas that have existed since the base’s establishment.
    “Dating as far back as the 1940s a large amount of unexploded ordnances (UXOs) has accumulated on Browns Island and the surrounding waters; these can still function and cause harm years later,” said Nicholas B. Klaus, range control officer on MCB Camp Lejeune. “Many of the dud munitions are buried in the sand or under water and any disturbance could cause them to explode. Browns Island has been a target area for many years and has numerous surface danger zones and weapon danger zones that cross it and the surrounding waters.”
    Throughout the years, many UXOs have been discovered and properly disposed of. The most recent UXO was a 250 lb. WWII-era AN-M57 A1 variant, found last month..
    “This piece of ordnance was under water during high tide and was not visible from above the surface,” said GySgt. Christopher Guillory, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operations chief. “Any movement or jarring of the UXO, especially by boat or watercraft, could be enough to function and create a detonation.”
    The operation to dispose the UXO ran smoothly during a low tide condition to ensure safe and stable working conditions. Marine Corps base EOD and Navy boat crews worked together to locate and identify the UXO. Guillory said the controlled operation’s blast was enough to completely destroy an armored military vehicle or a watercraft.
    There are numerous other islands and sandbars in the local area that are not on federal property and are not in high hazard impact areas with UXOs. Local range control officers encourage anyone who encounters a UXO to immediately clear the area and call 9-1-1.
    Browns Island is off limits to all visitors unless authorized for training exercises. Any military personnel accessing the island must be accompanied by EOD personnel due to the extreme dangers associated with a high hazard impact area.
    According to Klaus, going to Browns Island is not worth the risk for you or your family. Marine Corps Base EOD technicians conduct periodic sweeps of the island in order to locate and destroy a UXO. Every time they sweep they find more ordnance and destroy it on site. The dangers associated with UXO are real.
    All rules and regulations originate and comply with the Code of Federal Regulations, 33 CFR 334.440 which states:

    • Absolutely no unauthorized people are allowed on any part of the island.
    • Boaters traversing the Atlantic-Intracoastal Waterway in close proximity to the island may not stop, tie up or disembark their vessels.
    • No crab-pots, fishing with bottom dragging nets, anchoring, or any bottom disturbing activities are allowed anywhere in the vicinity of Browns Island.
    • All navigable waters in the area between the south bank of Bear Creek and the north bank of Brown's Inlet are base property and are strictly off-limits due to highly sensitive unexploded ordnance in this area.
    • Bear Creek and Muddy Creek leading to the Intracoastal Waterway to Bear Inlet are open to unrestricted navigation; however an unknown element of risk exists in this area due to the possible presence of unexploded projectiles.
    • Boaters may proceed through Browns Inlet without stopping during periods of nonmilitary use. For safety reasons, due to the presence of unexploded projectiles, any contact with the bottom of the waterways or any bottom disturbing activity is strictly prohibited. Caution should be used through these waters.
    • Military Police in concert with the U.S. Coast Guard will continue to regularly patrol the area and issue citations to trespassers that will require an appearance before the federal magistrate in Wilmington. Violators can be imprisoned up to six months and fined a maximum of $5,000.
    For more information you can access any of the following resources: The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 33 CFR 334.440, the US Coast Guard Website, , US Coast Guard Notice to Mariners, the Range Control website,,,



    Date Taken: 07.02.2021
    Date Posted: 07.02.2021 12:49
    Story ID: 400312

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