Got WMDs?
August 31, 2006 3:50 PM   Subscribe

The Deadly Deseret Chemical Depot is one of the scariest places on Earth, if you believe Alien Dave, which most people probably don't. Seen anomalous wildlife in Utah? Alien Dave wants to know about it. Need deprogramming? Dave's got you covered. But as for the chemical depot, its days as one of the biggest concentrations of chemical WMDs on the planet are numbered.
posted by owhydididoit (21 comments total)
Why is it that UFO sites always look and behave like bad porn sites?
posted by loquacious at 3:56 PM on August 31, 2006

I was fully expecting embedded MIDI. Thank goodnes for small favors.
posted by lekvar at 4:12 PM on August 31, 2006

Oops, nevermind - the embedded sound file is in the "Alien Dave" link.
posted by lekvar at 4:16 PM on August 31, 2006

Incidentally, there are tons heavy munitions - all kept elsewhere at the other CSEPP sites (like Anniston, Alabama; Newport, Indiana; Pine Bluff, Arkansas;and Umatilla, Oregon).

I wonder what Dave's take on those would be.
posted by The Giant Squid at 4:21 PM on August 31, 2006

tons... "of"... damn.
posted by The Giant Squid at 4:21 PM on August 31, 2006

Seen anomalous wildlife in Utah?

When I was 11 on a scout trip in the desert, someone turned over a rock and found what looked like a centipede the size of a garden snake.

Other than that, no.
posted by weston at 4:36 PM on August 31, 2006

"Seen anomalous wildlife in Utah?"

Boy, have I.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:41 PM on August 31, 2006

"Seen anomalous wildlife in Utah?"

Do Mormons count?
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:47 PM on August 31, 2006

I lived in Dugway, UT for a year. It's the military base associated with the munitions dump.- 20 miles or so away. While the kids in the Midwest were doing tornado drills in school, we were doing nerve gas release drills. Fun stuff.

Although having all that desert for mountain biking did make for a very enjoyable one year that we lived there.
posted by COD at 4:48 PM on August 31, 2006

Isn't any wild life in Utah anomalous? [rim shot]
posted by clevershark at 5:12 PM on August 31, 2006

"Seen anomalous wildlife in Utah?"

Color, pattern, hair length, skin tone, eye color, scales, texture, tail length, wing size, horns, claws, or other noticable details:

Please, people, we do need tail length and wing size!
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:16 PM on August 31, 2006

lol utah sucks am i rite
posted by keswick at 5:19 PM on August 31, 2006

Luckily, there's still plenty of WMD's just 40 miles from my house.
They were going to destroy those too, but aww...jeeze, the funding ran out.
posted by Balisong at 5:22 PM on August 31, 2006

When I was 9, I spent a summer at my Gramma Ginny's house in Salt Lake. One day walking back from day-camp, I was chased by a rabbit as big as a pony, with huge, fuzzy antlers. Locals called it a "jackamoose" or something. I was terrified, but later discovered they were delicious.
posted by turducken at 5:52 PM on August 31, 2006

I think you meant "ONE of THe SCaRieST PLaCeS oN EaRTH!"
posted by rsanheim at 7:13 PM on August 31, 2006

Actually, all of the CSEPP sites (Anniston, Pueblo, Umatilla, Tooele, etc) are still destroying their munitions. It's just taken quite a few years longer than expected.

Edgewood, Maryland and the much-ballyhooed Johnston Atoll have eliminated their stocks already.
posted by The Giant Squid at 7:16 PM on August 31, 2006

I lived in Tooele when I worked at Dugway Proving Grounds and used to drive past Tooele Army Depot on my way to work. The depot was where the chemical weapons were stored, but Dugway was far scarier.

To get to the test ranges, we had to pass a guard shack manned by armed guards with a sign "Use of Deadly Force Authorized". Everyone in the car had to hold up their gas masks or we wouldn't be allowed on the range. A little further on was a fork in the road -- our test range was to the left; to the right was Baker Lab a few miles out and nobody ever asked about Baker Lab. If you turned down the righthand fork, there would be an immediate flurry of MP jeeps leaving the lab to intercept you.

My classified storage area was a strange room with very thick walls and a vault-like door. I was told that the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was assembled there before being moved to the coast for shipment. The thick walls were to contain any stray radioactivity.

When we first arrived, blood samples were taken to serve as baselines for the ensuing periodic blood tests to determine if we had been exposed to any chemical or biological agents. The real danger wasn't in the agents themselves -- it was the fact that so many of them had been tested over the years that the Army had lost track of what was where. If we came across any debris on the range, we were instructed to get away from it as quickly as possible and report it so it could be tested and catalogued.

At the test range itself, we were told to park our cars facing out and leave the keys inside them, the idea being that -- in the event of need for evacuation -- noone would have to wait for the guy with the keys. Our gas masks had to be carried at all times. Besides the masks, we were given atropine injectors for use when exposed to nerve gas. ("Just stab yourself in the thigh with it....But be sure you've actually been exposed to nerve gas or the atropine will kill you instead.' "So the atropine will stop the nerve gas from killing me?" "Well, some of the nerve gas. With other stuff we have here it will just let you die happy.")

While I was there, an F-16 inadvertently through an orange cloud (our generic term for agents) and sat at the end of the runway of Michaels Army Air Field for several weeks while being decontaminated. I never heard what became of the pilot.

What was ironic is that I was there to test an unmanned drone that had nothing to do with CBN agents. Dugway just happened to be the only test range available at the time.
posted by forrest at 8:31 PM on August 31, 2006 [8 favorites]

Jesus, forrest, that is an insane work story.

Don't know when you were based there, but in the past few years a crazy desert museum (run by the enigmatic Center for Land Use Interpretation) has opened in some old base buildings on the Wendover side, just across from the Enola Gay hangar.

And last year the Army demanded that Dugway be *doubled* in size. Meanwhile, the town is booming with tract homes and golf courses. And it's the Salt Lake Tribune that suggested Dugway was the "new Groom Lake" (Area 51) in a 2004 article saved here.

Also, the "terrorist anthrax" came from or at least passed through Dugway, via Fort Detrick.

The site has also been used for testing of the abandoned (or was it??) X-33 space plane.
posted by kenlayne at 8:53 PM on August 31, 2006

"Locals called it a "jackamoose" or something"

Yes, that would be the dreaded jackalope. They are tasty, I agree.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:36 AM on September 1, 2006

Er, regarding this, from the Reuters article...
the weapons are buried below truncated pyramid-shaped mounds.
Is that the best idea, there? I mean, we excavate pyramids all over the world (well, wherever we find them); won't burying dangerous waste in pyramid-shaped mounds just encourage people thousands of years from now to dig 'em up?
posted by davejay at 1:48 PM on September 1, 2006

Pharaoh's Curse!
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:52 PM on September 1, 2006

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