By Conrad Dudderar
Eyebrows were raised recently when an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Bomb Squad van was parked on Main Street near Garth Brooks Boulevard.
OHP Bomb Squad members Trp. John Marion and Trp. Brandon DeHart were called to the Yukon Veterans Museum last weekend to test whether a donation of Vietnam-Era military ordnance contained any active explosive material.
“There was no emergency,” said Lt. Col. (ret.) Rick Cacini, founder and curator of the Yukon Veterans Museum. “We received a donation that included five boxes of miscellaneous ordnance.”
The EOD (explosive ordnance disposal)-certified bomb squad technicians arrived at 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 20 to inspect the weapons and ammunition.
“They pulled five items out of these five boxes, took them to the truck and x-rayed them,” Cacini said. “One item they kept because it was ‘hot’. Four items they returned to me, so I put them in the museum.
“The one item they kept had active ordnance in it. Once they get all the explosives cleaned out of it, they will bring it back to me.”
No military ordinance is brought inside the Yukon Veterans Museum unless it has been cleared.
“We always have ‘safety first’ in our museum,” Cacini said. “We play it ‘by the book’ with anything that goes inside or outside the museum.”
As a “thank-you” for coming out to the museum, he presented OHP troopers Marion and DeHart with a unit coin from the Special Forces Group Association – a veterans service organization.
‘THEY GOT WORRIED’
The presence of the OHP Bomb Squad on Main Street Yukon drew the attention of off-duty police officers and personnel at a nearby convenience store, Cacini noted.
“We kept it all quiet and low-key,” he said. “But people did see the bomb squad coming in, and so naturally, they got worried.
“If he ‘rolled in hot’, I could see everyone getting upset. But he just rolled in.”
The Yukon Veterans Museum frequently accepts donations of military artifacts from all U.S. armed forces – Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Merchant Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
Tours are available for anyone who wants to see the displays inside the museum, 1010 W Main.
Regular hours are noon to 5 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays. For more information, call (405) 517-1901 or (405) 514-6794.