by Randy King
When you’re wandering in the Southwest Idaho desert, you don't expect to find a bomb lying on the ground. But if you're wandering around near Marsing, you might.
While out rabbit hunting with a friend, I came across the shell of a “flour” or “sand” bomb. Not sure exactly what to do with apparently unexploded WWII ordinance, we backed away a few hundred yards and shot at it. The hope was that any explosives would detonate and provide a show, or the bomb would just sit there confirming our belief that it was a dud. After two shots from a Russian WWII Nagnat rifle, we moved closer to the bomb.
We pulled the bomb free of the desert clay and brushed it off. It was clear that this was something that had to be seen to be believed. I grabbed the bomb and hoisted it onto my shoulder, took it back to the truck and gave it to my father, the history buff.
It seemed odd to find a bomb in our rabbit hunting spot, so I did a little research. According to blogger John Larsen (johnmlarsen.wordpress.com), the Air Force units stationed at Gowen Field constructed a mock city in the desert a few miles north of Marsing shortly after the start of WWII. They made crude buildings, ran lights to make mock streets and even set up power lines, all to drop fake bombs for practice.
It was humbling to think I had held a piece of history, and I'm glad we didn't find something more than an unexploded flour bomb. Other places are not so lucky.