A gate at Misawa Air Base, Japan, shown in June 2017. 

A gate at Misawa Air Base, Japan, shown in June 2017.  (U.S. Air Force)

The discovery this week of an inert piece of training ordnance left behind from a recent exercise caused Misawa Air Base, Japan, to shut its gates momentarily.

The fighter base in northeastern Japan closed its gates at 2:25 p.m. Monday while an explosive ordnance disposal team responded to the discovery near the Kamakita gate on the base’s northwest side, according to a post on Misawa’s official Facebook page that day.

The gates reopened 17 minutes later, according to a subsequent Facebook post.

In the meantime, EOD personnel identified the object as a training munition left over from a recent readiness training exercise, according to an unsigned email from a base spokesperson to Stars and Stripes on Monday.

Misawa Air Base uses props and inert munitions to practice procedures and enhance operational readiness in as realistic a manner as possible, the spokesperson said.

The 35th Civil Engineer Squadron, which includes the EOD technicians, most recently took part in the three-day Habu exercise in January, which brought technicians from air bases in Japan, Guam and South Korea to Misawa for training, according to a base news release Jan. 26.

This year Misawa for the first time hosted the large-scale Habu exercise, according to the release. EOD technicians worked in cold weather through several scenarios, testing their procedures for handling explosive devices, unexploded ordnance, grenades and booby traps, according to the release.

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Kelly Agee is a reporter and photographer at Yokota Air Base, Japan, who has served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years. She is a Syracuse Military Photojournalism Program alumna and is working toward her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Her previous Navy assignments have taken her to Greece, Okinawa, and aboard the USS Nimitz.

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