High-tech artillery training at base

More Than 1,700 Marines Taking Part

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Three times a year, the artillery unit of 11th Marine Regiment line up their big guns for training.

"The whole regiment is here, all the different battalions all working together, all shooting together to put rounds on target," said Cpl. Kevin Bradford, one of the 1,700 or so Marines who have been firing their M-777 Howitzers nearly non-stop since last week.

The exercise brings together artillery units from 29 Palms and Camp Pendleton for a joint artillery, mortar and rocket training scenario.

"The big cannons are no longer in Afghanistan, they have all come back; in their place are the rockets, HiMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System)," said Maj. Dan Whitley with the 11th Marine Regiment.

Mounted on a truck bed, the rockets are lethal from more than 40 miles away, but even some artillery shells have a high-tech component.

"We have some shells that are GPS-enabled, and we've put munitions on target 15 miles away within a meter (just over three feet)," said Cpl. Bradford.

The training at Camp Pendleton will run through Wednesday.

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