Saturday, November 7, 2009

They dropped a bomb on us, baby

The three-quarter-page public notice in this week's edition of The Pinnacle sounded a bit ominous on first read, using words like "Bomb Target No. 5, Hollister," "unexploded ordnance," and "discarded military munitions." It turns out that some rural property east of Hollister off Santa Ana Valley Road was used by Navy pilots as a practice dive bombing target during World War II and the government is in the process of checking it out to see if any clean-up is needed. I knew that there was a Naval Auxiliary Air Station at the Hollister Airport during the war, but the practice dive bombing info was news to me. A spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is coordinating the investigation, said the advertisement was meant to help the government gather more information about the bombing site, though it has already talked to current and former owners. In next week's Pinnacle, I'll report in more detail on the bombing runs from 65 years ago and explain what the next steps will be in the investigation of the site. My dad, who grew up in Hollister and was related to the then-property owners, recalled to me how some family members collected the practice bombs, which, fortunately, were inert -- usually filled with sand. Unfortunately -- or maybe fortunately -- those weren't kept as family heirlooms. Check the Nov. 13 issue of The Pinnacle for the full story. (image courtesy of ezioman's Photostream: