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Schofield workers find phosgene-filled mortar


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POSTED: Saturday, July 11, 2009

Schofield Barracks workers have found another World War I-era canister on a remote training range that contained a choking gas agent.

Army officials said the 4-inch mortar, found June 27, contained a liquid that was identified this week by chemical experts as phosgene. It was removed this week and will be stored until it can be destroyed. Phosgene is also used commercially to make plastics and pesticides.

“;We have proven that we are very adept at handling, removing and disposing of legacy chemical munitions safely, without endangering the environment or community, said Col. Matthew T. Margotta, commander of U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii. “;Our responses will continue to be quick, efficient and, most importantly, centered on safety and well-being.”;

The mortar round was found in the same training area where 71 chemical munitions were found between June 2004 and September 2006 while workers were upgrading a training range. The last of the training rounds were destroyed in 2008.

The 71 World War I munitions were the largest amount of chemical munitions discovered on a military base in the U.S., Army officials said then.