An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | June 30, 2011

Wisconsin Guard Soldiers have blast shooting cannons after six-year hiatus

By Army Spc. Alexandria Hughes Wisconsin National Guard

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. - The thunderous blast of a 105-mm light towed howitzer cannon and the smell of its smoke soon met with shouts and cheers from Soldiers in the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 120th Field Artillery Regiment here June 18.

The last time the artillery component of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team fired their M119-A2 howitzers was in the spring of 2005. Due to a high operations tempo, the guns have been silent for more than six years. Finally, just days shy of the official start of summer the silence was broken as the 120th took part in its first brigade-wide annual training in years.

"Some of the Soldiers have gone on two deployments since the 120th has fired the howitzers," said Army Pfc. Jonathan Strande, a cannoneer for Battery A, 1st Battalion, 120th Field Artillery. "Six years is too long. Everybody joined artillery for a reason, and we were all itching to get back on the guns."

The first shot wasn’t fired by just anyone. After winning a "top gun" competition, Army Sgt. Alan W. Sazama, a howitzer gunner for Battery A, and his team earned the honor. The contest between howitzer crews determined who would be ready to fire in the shortest amount of time, while meeting all safety measures.

The competition reflected the need to be fast and accurate, because in combat, a few moments of delay in sending cannon fire downrange can cost the lives of those calling for artillery support.

"The fastest and the safest to lay the piece won," Sazama said. To lay the piece means the cannon is properly emplaced and aligned with safety and aiming devices.

"It felt incredible to be number one," Strande said. "The competition was battalion level, with two units and 10 sections, but we were the ones able to pull together and work as a team."

"We are honored to be given the chance to do this, especially when it means so much to the unit," Sazama said.

With renewed motivation, and high spirits, the 120th continued training well after the excitement of the first firing.

"We're going to expand and build on what we're doing here," Sazama said. "The first shot was just the first step."

 

 

Related Articles
From left, Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Binstock, North Dakota Army National Guard state command sergeant major; 2nd Lt. Denis Duku, 426th Signal Company; Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, adjutant general; Maj. Beth Simek, North Dakota bilateral affairs officer for Ghana; Lt. Col. Jarrod Simek, U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, and Lt. Col. Mark McEvers take a photo at the 20th-anniversary celebration of North Dakota and the Republic of Ghana's partnership in the State Partnership Program, Feb. 22, 2024, in Accra, Ghana. North Dakota and Ghana are one of 18 partnerships in Africa.
North Dakota National Guard Celebrates 20-year Ghana Partnership
By Sgt. Michaela Granger, | Feb. 23, 2024
ACCRA, Ghana – The North Dakota National Guard celebrated its 20-year partnership with Ghana in the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program Feb. 22.The partnership, the third-oldest in Africa,...

Air National Guard security forces participate in a mass casualty event at the PATRIOT 24 exercise at Combined Arms Collective Training Facility, Camp Shelby, Mississippi, Feb. 19, 2024. The disaster-response training exercise was conducted by National Guard units working with federal, state and local emergency management agencies and first responders.
National Guard Conducts Patriot Exercise in Mississippi
By Maj. Sabrina Dalton, | Feb. 22, 2024
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. – The National Guard conducted a disaster readiness exercise with state and county emergency management agencies and industry partners Feb. 18-22.PATRIOT is a joint, interagency exercise sponsored by the...

Randy Kee, director of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, speaks with Col. T. Galbadrakh, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces, during a visit to the center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Feb. 14, 2024. Galbadrakh's visit, coordinated through the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program, underscores the program's evolution into a vital instrument for bolstering U.S. security cooperation on the global stage.
Mongolian Colonel Visits Arctic Security Center, Alaska Partners
By Amber Kurka, | Feb. 22, 2024
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Col. T. Galbadrakh, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces, visited the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies Feb. 14 in a step toward increased...