On Friday, July 27, Mammoth Lakes Police Department officers responded to the La Residence condo complex for a report of a found mortar round. The condominium manager was cleaning out a vacant unit and discovered the device, possible left by prior tenants.
Upon arrival, MLPD officers determined that the round was not consistent with those used by MMSA for avalanche control. They did identify it as an 81 mm mortar round, still currently in use by the U.S. military.
MLPD evacuated the building and requested assistance from a military Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team. The team from Fallon, Nev., arrived Saturday to evaluate the round and make it safe. The round was found to be two portions of previously fired rounds that had been later attached. The EOD team took possession of the round for further investigation, and to determine if the attached fuse was still live.
MLPD has identified the owner of the round. Charges have not been filed, though they might be, pending additional investigation, including a determination on whether the shell posed any hazard. Possession of such shells is uncommon, since most are properly disposed of after use, and not made available to the public.
The 81 mm mortar is a high-angle-of-fire weapon for long-range support of infantry and airborne battlefield units. -MLPD