US Army Corps of Engineers
Kansas City District

Port Angeles Combat Range

Collapse All Expand All

In early 1943, the 115th Cavalry Squadron (mechanized) requested that land be leased in the area of Port Angeles, Washington for use as a ground-to-ground combat range. The range was intended to be used for tactical firing problems and short-range known distance firing (200 to 300 yards). Through leases and use permits, approximately 1,600 acres were obtained within Sections 5, 8, and 17 within Township 29 North, Range 5 West for use as the PACR. The Inventory Project Record (INPR) (USACE, 1993) indicated the range was used for weapons practice with 37mm and 75mm projectiles, 60mm and 81mm mortars, and various small arms. The ASR also indicated that there were reports that mortars and land mines were used at the PACR; however, there is no definitive evidence that land mines with energetics were used at the FUDS. There were no buildings or improvements other than a spotting tower. Troops were encamped at the Port Angeles Fair Grounds/Conservation Corps Camp. Records indicate that the range consisted of a single firing line, with firing occurring to the south into the hilly and mountainous terrain. All firing apparently occurred from a single firing line. Interviews with former residents of the area and enlisted personnel who used the range indicated that all firing was west of Deer Park Road. Firing occurred at direct stationary and moving targets (targets and tanks pulled across the range using cables) and indirect firing using coordinates. In April and May 1944, the range was declared excess and all leases and permits were canceled. There is no information to suggest that at the time of closing any attempt was made by the Army to perform any range clearance prior to returning the range lands to private ownership. In addition, there was no information to indicate that the Army attempted to notify land owners of the actual use of the former range in terms of potential hazards that could remain. Two young boys were killed in August 1948, when a 37mm shell exploded while they were cutting some downed timber within the former range. The 37mm shell was embedded in a log they were sawing. Immediately after the death of the two boys, the Army initiated the dedudding of the area expected to be contaminated. On May 7, 1949, a Certificate of Clearance was issued noting that approximately 775 acres had been cleared of dangerous/explosive material. Subsequent clearances of the PACR occurred in 1952, 1955, 1956, and 1957. At some point in the 1950s, signs were posted warning the public of dangers from munitions and explosive materials at the site. In 1963, 652 acres were purchased by the Army to restrict and control access to contaminated property.

The Information Repository is in the process of being established. The documents listed below should be available at the Port Angeles Public Library Branch of the North Olympic Library System located at 2210 South Peabody Street  Port Angeles, WA 98362.

http://www.nols.org/

Contacts

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Kansas City District

601 East 12th Street

ATT: CENWK-PM-E Schilling Project Manager

Kansas City, MO 64106

Fax Number - 816.389.2023