The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is launching a search of Westhampton and the surrounding area for any possible debris left over from World War II-era military practice ranges, officials said.
The search will focus on the area in and around Suffolk County Air Force Base bombing and gunnery ranges that were activated in 1943 and used for bombing, rocket firing, and other training exercises for fighter pilots until 1946. The search is a follow up to a 2009 site inspection that recommended further investigation of the area spanning 4,300 acres.
“In 1946, bombs, practice rockets, and [munitions debris] from bombs were found at the [munitions response site],” the Army Corps said in a statement. “Additionally, in 1997 a practice rocket, practice bombs, and small arms ammunition were also discovered at the MRS.”
The estimated cost of the investigation is $2,671,100 funded by the Defense Environmental Restoration Program for Formerly Used Defense Sites.