The Navy isn’t focused on cleaning up anything fired at Nomans Land by the Air Force, according to information emailed by a naval spokesperson. When previously asked by The Times about the possible presence of depleted uranium rounds on the island, the Navy said there was no evidence to indicate such ammunition was present. When recently asked if the Navy was also speaking for the Air Force, spokesman David Barney responded with an email passing the buck to the Air Force.
“The former Naval Air Station South Weymouth, Air Operations Department, acquired scheduling control over the island upon the closure of the former NAS Quonset Point, R.I., in 1975,” he wrote. “Since that time, authorized use of the island was approved in accordance with the governing Range Manual or Range Instruction in place at the time of approval. Authorized use of the island as a target area by the Air National Guard or the Air Force would have required approval by the former NAS South Weymouth. For information regarding the Air National Guard and Air Force use of depleted uranium rounds, please contact the Air Force.”
When informed that A-10 Thunderbolts, the tank-busting aircraft built around a Gatling cannon designed to fire depleted uranium rounds, used to strafe the island, and when asked if the Navy ever used that type of plane, Barney again deferred to the Air Force.
“The Navy Base Realignment and Closure Program Management Office focus is on the environmental cleanup and disposal of Navy property,” he wrote. “Please contact the Air National Guard regarding use of specific aircraft.”
An Air Force spokesperson in Virginia referred inquiry on the subject to the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center at Joint Base San Antonio. A message seeking comment was not immediately returned on Friday.