Central Oregon

WWII ammunition found in Redmond

Bend man hopes to preserve region's history

Ammo found in Redmond dates back to WWII

The Oregon Maneuver brought thousands of troops to Central Oregon in 1943, but there is little documentation on what happened. Recent discoveries of ammo, dog tags and plane parts in the desert are bringing that history back.

"There is nothing in the national archives," WWII Historian Dick Tobiason said Monday evening. "Only one (official) picture from WWII was taken in Redmond, so it's important to document it, pass it on and make it visible to the public."

Tobiason has been working for years to bring back the history of the Northwest's largest training exercise, the Oregon Maneuver, which trained thousands of soldiers during the war.

"It's a story that we know real well," Tobiason said.

He said having the artifacts in your hand no longer makes it just a story in the newspaper or history books.

The recent discovery of ammunition at a Redmond construction site piqued his interest as Tobiason tries to preserve what little tangible history there is of a key milestone for the High Desert.

"This particular ammunition is interesting, because it was a common ammunition for both infantry troops, .30 caliber, and some of the fighter P-38 and P-39s," Tobiason said.

The ammo was discovered by a construction crew, then disposed of by the U.S. Air Force east of town, according to Redmond police.

The trouble in preserving the items found over the years is the ones found on federal land can't be removed if they have been there longer than 50 years.

Tobiason is working to change that. He says he is working with the BLM to move some of the items to a museum, where their story can be shared.

"It's great for them," Tobiason said, referring to the veterans who served during World War II and trained in Central Oregon. "It's kind of closure to say that somebody cares about preserving their history. You know, these folks saved the world."

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