Roy Cogburn, 33, of Oxnard, came across a secret underground bunker from World War II, with live munitions, during a routine day using his metal detector near the dunes close to the power plant off Harbor Boulevard. The bunker, which was holding more than 500 rounds of ammunition and missiles, was determined to have been vacant for 65 years.
“I was just using my metal detector to find some occasional jewelry and coins and things like that, when I found an old shell that was sitting on the sand. I started digging in the sand, and before I knew it, I had reached a hard surface. I couldn’t believe it,” said Cogburn. The bunker was discovered March 28.
Bunkers were constructed on local beaches in discreet areas during World War II to keep a lookout for foreign submarines and also to keep enemies from moving inland. At one time, the structures lined almost all of Ventura County’s shores.
Mayor Tom Holden was delighted by the discovery, and was eager to share his thoughts.
“I think it’s a great thing for the city, and I think pretty much everyone was just as surprised as I was,” said Holden.
The bunker was cleaned out on the day of the discovery, by Seabees from the naval base in Port Hueneme, and all of the munitions were disposed of at the base. The site is now being brought up to code and being turned into a museum for all to see. The museum is expected to open in early June.
Veteran Joe Jordan, 85, of Ventura, served in World War II and reminisced about his days in the navy.
“I remember like it was yesterday, all of us out there. This bunker is going to do great as a museum, and I’d sure like to go as soon as it opens,” Jordan said. “It helps me remember all of my men who served with me in the war and all of the great things they did for their country. I hope this museum helps young children understand and have a better appreciation for us veterans, and the great nation we serve.”
The local chapter Veterans of Foreign Wars is asking its members and other local former militia for donations of artifacts that could be installed at the museum.
This story is one of many in our April Fool’s Day package this week.