WWI era practice bombs found on Waco construction site

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 11:03 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A construction crew in Waco recovered two bombs from the Lake Air Little League fields construction site along Trice Avenue; the McLennan County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad determined the devices were not live but likely practice bombs from former military installations on the same site.

“This is the original site of the Rich Field Army Air Base built in 1917 after the United States got involved in WWI,” Sheriff Parnell McNamara explained.

Rich Field was used for two years, along with neighboring Camp MacArthur, where between the two, 80,000 troops trained from 1917 to 1919.

“This hits pretty close to home for me my great uncle Joe McNamara was a captain here at Camp MacArthur during WWI,” Parnell McNamara explained.

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara's great uncle, Captain Joe McNamara, sits outside a...
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara's great uncle, Captain Joe McNamara, sits outside a tent at Camp MacArthur(Courtesy Photo)

His team was first called out to the construction site on August 9th when the first device was found. They were called out again on the 12th when the same crew found an identical bomb.

“We have machines that Xray them and tell us exactly what’s inside the bomb, what kind of explosive it is and so forth,” McNamara said.

Those machines showed both bombs to be made of steel, and not contain any explosives.

“Its about a foot and a half long got fins on it so we don’t know if it was dropped out those old biplanes because that’s all they had in WWI were the biplanes,” he said.

With two devices already found, he says he’s waiting to hear if there’s more. The construction site where they were found is surrounded by several other construction projects, including the building of Waco ISD’s new high school.

“There’s a lot of construction going on and no telling what we’re going to find next,” McNamara said.

He’s encouraged the crews not to touch anything suspicious.

“If we find some more we’re going to respond and make sure if they are explosive we will take them and destroy them,” he explained.

But the devices found that were not explosive, don’t need to be destroyed, according to McNamara.

“We’re going to keep them as souvenirs because they’re solid steel, practice rounds but they’re really cool looking.”

A Facebook page is dedicated to sharing photos of Camp MacArthur and Rich Field Army Air Base and can be found at https://www.facebook.com/wacotexasww1/

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