Fort Drum, Fort Hood Soldiers fire new M777A2 howitzer
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and Soldiers from 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, of Fort Hood, Texas, fired M777A2 "triple seven" howitzers during a live-fire training exercise held Aug. 4, in Fort Drum's training area.
The live-fire exercise marked the end of a two-week familiarization course and began a display of firepower not seen on Fort Drum in about a decade.
Putting what they learned to the test, Soldiers staggered the triple sevens in a "Lazy W" formation. About 10 Soldiers stood by each weapon system ready to receive their fire missions, load 155mm high-explosive rounds, fire the weapon and destroy the targets roughly eight miles away.
"We don't get many chances to fire our weapon systems, so when we do, we take full advantage of it," said Sgt. Cody Casey, an artilleryman assigned to 2-15 FA.
The following hours were spent firing the triple sevens from different angles of elevation, giving the Soldiers a chance to experience its full capabilities.
"You could tell after the first rounds were fired that these guys are happy to be artillery and to be firing live (rounds)," said Lt. Col. Christopher W. Wendland, 2-15 FA commander.
During the two-week course, artillerymen from the Canadian army and civilian subject-matter experts shared their knowledge about the weapon system and operating it in Afghanistan.
"We want to impart our knowledge of the M777 weapon system to these guys, so they can learn from what we have experienced during our deployments to Afghanistan," said Sgt. Ron Langille, an artilleryman assigned to 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Canadian Forces Base in Petawawa, Canada.
The Soldiers' Canadian counterparts enjoyed sharing their knowledge, according to Sgt. Roger Inniss, an artilleryman also assigned to Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.
"I would like to see us work closer together and have more cohesion. I would also like to execute a yearly training exchange," he said.
Article by Sgt. Mark A. Moore II, 2nd Brigade Combat Team Journalist