Inside live artillery training at Fort Indiantown Gap


Two classes of National Guard soldiers spent the day here firing live ammunition. It’s all part of their training, in case they get sent to war.

It’s loud from a distance, and even louder up close. Two dozen soldiers are in the home stretch of a three-week program at Fort Indiantown Gap. 

“We have students here that are learning how to be artillerymen, cannon crew members. We also have students that are learning how to be section chiefs,” said SSgt. Daniel Brizek, PA National Guard. 

“Which is the individual responsible for the gun, its maintenance and its safe fires,” said Sgt. Steven Macveigh, WV National Guard.

The 166th Regional Regiment Training Institute has a mix of active duty and National Guard troops. 

“It’s a great experience to be able to work with both and to work with national guard units from all over the country, active units from all over the country and just be able to integrate and learn from each other,” said Sgt. Macveigh. 

After learning in the classroom, these soldiers get hands-on experience. 

“The biggest thing you’re going to need to know is just how to perform your actions safely and that’s where we as instructors come in,” said SSgt. Brizek. 

“We are training on the M109 A6 Paladin, the M77 and the M119. “In laymen’s terms they shoot really big bullets really far,” said Sgt. Macveigh. 

They’re shooting at a target about 2 and a half miles away that they can’t see. 

“We have our forward observers, which are also students training up here. So they call the shot designation or the target, and they relay that information to what we call a fire direction control, and they calculate what we need to put those rounds safely into that area,” said Sgt. Macveigh. 

The training never stops at one of the busiest National Guard posts in the country. 

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