It seems difficult to imagine but 75 years ago the Outer Banks was a frontline battleground during WWII. Between 1942 and 1945 German U-Boats sunk almost 400 ships off the coast of North Carolina, many of them—most of them—-off the Outer Banks.
There’s not much to remind us of that time now. Some shipwrecks off the coast, including a couple of U-Boats, but the conflict was real.
We had a small reminder of that today at the newest piece of Outer Banks real estate.
Shelly Island, the little spit of land that has formed off The Point at Cape Hatteras has become a collecting point for all the flotsam captured by Outer Banks waters.
What washed up today was something covered in rust, encrusted with all sorts of evidence of a long time at sea, but with the unmistakable shape of a military explosive device.
Hatteras Island Rescue, working with the National Park Service, wasted no time. They got everyone off the island and set up a one mile safety zone that extended on to The Point.
A Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal case down from Little Creek and quickly identified the object as a harmless WWII-era training device.
There may have been an overreaction on the side of caution, but the training device is the latest in a history of WWII debris washing up on Outer Banks beaches. It is a rare event, but some of them have been still potent explosives so maybe the caution was warranted.