11/15/11 — SJAFB detail called out again

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SJAFB detail called out again

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 15, 2011 1:46 PM

Less than two weeks after a small black briefcase left next to a gas line prompted the evacuation of several stores along Ash Street -- and a response from the 4th Fighter Wing Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight -- members of the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base detail were back outside the installation gates.

But this time, it only took the airmen a few minutes to determine that the device never really presented a viable threat to the Wayne County community.

Members of the EOD unit were mobilized just before noon Monday to meet Goldsboro Police officers at a firing range off Old Mount Olive Highway in Brodgen to inspect an object that was recovered from a local residence earlier that morning.

And shortly after they arrived on scene, GPD Capt. Al King said it became clear to "the experts" that the object law enforcement had recovered wasn't even worth blowing up -- that it would become nothing more than "a paperweight on someone's desk."

"The base was called just to be on the safe side," King said. "But it was nothing. It was inert."

Monday's non-event marks the seventh time airmen have been called on to assist local law enforcement this year.

In January, a pipe bomb was found by a Department of Correction cleanup crew along U.S. 70, just two miles west of the Rosewood Wal-mart near Riverbend Road.

And just a month later, the unit was mobilized again when an envelope containing a cellular phone prompted the lockdown of the area immediately surrounding two post office drop boxes located near the intersection of Eastgate and Drives.

Then, in June, another unexpected find prompted a response -- when David and Susan Crooks started working to restore an antique sewing machine, they discovered what was later identified as a live grenade that dates back to World War I.

And within the last month, airmen have been called on to neutralize a briefcase left outside that Ash Street business and a live mortar round discovered by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office Dive Team during a search for stolen guns.

But the threat that created the biggest stir unfolded the day after the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when more than 100 people were evacuated from the Wayne County Courthouse after a device that appeared to be a bomb was found on the property.