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Europe-based Soldiers get chance to test-fire, train with Army's newest howitzer

Jul 30, 2009

By Staff Sgt. Fredrick P. Varney, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Kentucky Army National Guard

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Improvements in technology and weaponry are dire necessities in modern warfare. They achieve success on the battlefield and enable Soldiers to complete successful missions in support of the ongoing Global War on Terrorism.

On July 24, Soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment FIRES Squadron became the first unit in Europe to fire the Army's new M777 Howitzers at the Joint Multinational Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area.

"Being the first unit in Europe to fire this new weapon is an amazing honor," said Sgt. 1st Class Steven Jarvis, a section chief with the 2SCR. "This is the high point in my career. This is a big deal for an artillery Soldier and something to remember for a long time."

The M777 Howitzer replaces the M198 Howitzer as the premiere weapons system in Field Artillery. It is lighter, more accurate and requires less crew members.

"The lightweight M777 Howitzer will increase the capabilities of our artillery batteries because it is more versatile and can be transported to any location much faster than its predecessor the M198 Howitzer," Jarvis said. "The M198 only has three point of contact and weighs 16,000 pounds, while the M777 maintains five points of contact to the ground for better stability, and weighs only 10,000 pounds."

"Stability increases the weapon's accuracy, which will increase our success in Iraq and Afghanistan," added Jarvis.

The Soldiers of the unit will continue to train with the new M777 Howitzer. The Joint Multinational Training Command plays an integral role in helping the 2SCR train, while continuing to help the Army modernize by facilitating the testing of new equipment and weaponry in Europe.

"The Joint Multinational Training Command provides the greatest training in the Army," Jarvis said. "This training area is the only area in Europe that units can do live-fire missions with large weapons, which prepares us for contingency operations downrange."



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