To ensure that Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune units are combat ready, certain areas of the Base are used to train military personnel in the use of munitions. For safety purposes, each munitions training range is associated with a safety buffer area, called a surface danger zone (SDZ). More information about SDZs is provided below.
Several years ago, Camp Lejeune discovered that portions of some SDZs had been located outside the surveyed Base boundary at times dating back to the 1940s. Active range boundaries were adjusted so that the SDZ for each range now lies entirely within the base boundary.
The following image shows the off-base areas that might have been affected. The greater part of this area consists of the SDZ for Rocket Range Number 1, which has not been used for more than 50 years.
What is a Surface Danger Zone?
A Surface Danger Zone (SDZ) is an area associated with a training range that is designed to protect people during weapons training. It may include land, water, and airspace. When a range is in active use, the SDZ is an exclusion area that is strictly controlled and could contain projectiles, fragments, or components from firing, launching, or detonating weapons and explosives.
An SDZ is comprised of three parts:
- Weapons Firing Position: Position from which the munitions are fired.
- Impact Area: The target or intended area of munitions impact where munitions and munitions fragments are expected to land.
- Secondary Danger Area: A safety buffer area where fragments from munitions may land.
SDZs are established by MCB Camp Lejeune through Army guidelines and through regulations that are normally associated with public comment periods. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ regulations for public lands and waters are documented in the Code of Federal Regulations (Corps of Engineers, Department of the Army, Part 334 Danger Zones and Restricted Area Regulations, Section 440).
These regulations include safety procedures to ensure that the SDZs are clear of all personnel during training, and that the public is notified when training is conducted. The Department of Defense's current regulations require that SDZs be calculated so that there is only a one-in-one-million chance that munitions or munitions fragments would land outside the secondary danger area.