WWII Artillery Round Found On Farm
STARKE - The veterans that took part in World War II are rare and few, and so are the artifacts left behind. That's why one Starke resident is astonished by what he discovered in his very own farm.
Long are silenced the sounds of warfare and canyons from a global war in the 1940's. However that's not the case for Al Mize who recently found a military artillery round from the World War II era at his farm on Northwest 75th avenue in Starke. "The old home site has been here since 1928, it was actually owned by Mr. Harry Louis during the world war 2 period but he passed away in the 60's and we found all types of old metal pieces but this is the first time we found anything that resembled a mortar or anything to do with the military," Mize said.
Mize was digging a trench on his property for a water line when he hit something in the ground that was very hard. That last thing he expected to find was an artifact from World War II. Mize called the Bradford County Sheriff's Office and they worked with the bomb unit at Camp Blanding.
On scene it was determined this was a live artillery round and very dangerous. However after taking it in for inspection, they learned it had been filled with cement and was not active. Captain Brad Smith Bradford County Sheriff's Office said, "They found out it was not in fact a live mortar round but you know you can never be too safe with these things. Because as old as it was cause it was from the World War II era, it could've been volatile and caused some serious damage or even deaths."
Mize said that, “During World War II, Camp Blanding and Starke were the boom area. And we trained thousands and thousands of army soldiers to go over to the European war and they probably used this area for training grounds."
Artillery rounds are something purple heart recipient and World War II veteran, Bob Gasche is very familiar with. "Mortar rounds were specifically designed to fire from a tube at a high angle of projection so you could hit the enemy behind the hill," Gasche said.
Gasche was a rifleman in the frontlines of the battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. It puzzles him how the artillery round ended up in Mize's farm. But hearing about it brings back so many memories that are hard to forget. "On February the 23rd 1945, when the American flag was raised on top of Mount Suribachi… it was a blessing. It was met with cheers, guns, with hollering," Gasche added.
Mize is glad to have uncovered a little piece of life-changing history on his farm. "If they use it at Camp Blanding to recognize the war period than that's great, I won't want it back," Mize said.
One thing is for sure Mize says he'll be a little more attentive next time he's out here working on his farm; as you never know what you can find.
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