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Marines return to Fort Bragg for annual artillery exercise

Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, fire an M777 Howitzer during Exercise Rolling Thunder on Oct. 19, 2021, at Fort Bragg.

FORT BRAGG — The Marines and their artillery are back in town, according to Fort Bragg officials.

 The 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division started their semi-annual field artillery exercise and live-fire training exercise known as Operation Rolling Thunder on Tuesday and will remain in the area through Oct. 28.  

The live-fire portion of the exercise starts Saturday, a news release states.  

During the live fire, the Marines “will fire significant amounts of M777 Howitzer 155mm ammunition” from 18 different M777 Howitzers, “which can be associated with loud explosions and reverberations upon detonation.”  

Simultaneously, field artillery units from the 82nd Airborne Division and the 18th Field Artillery Brigade are expected to conduct live-fire training.  

More:Behind the scenes as artillery fires at Fort Bragg

“The training conducted at Fort Bragg is necessary to help maintain the 10th Marine Regiment’s readiness,” said Sharilyn Wells, a Fort Bragg spokeswoman. “We ask the communities surrounding Fort Bragg to be understanding while they are here training.” 

In previous years, officials have said the 155mm Howitzers can’t be fired at Camp Lejeune and that Fort Bragg’s training area allows more space and flexibility.

Marines with Echo Battery, 2d Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, load a 155mm artillery shell into an M777 Howitzer during Exercise Rolling Thunder on March 30, 2022, at Fort Bragg.
Marines with Echo Battery, 2d Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division operate an M777 howitzer during Exercise Rolling Thunder on March 29, 2022, at Fort Bragg.

There will be no mass firing from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily or 10 a.m. to noon Sundays, the news release states.  

Last year’s exercise “placed the Marines in a geographically dispersed, unscripted, force-on-force training scenario purposefully designed to mimic two militaries competing to seize and hold key maritime terrain.”  

The training at Fort Bragg allowed the Marines to command and control offensive air support and high mobility artillery rocket systems, execute a heliborne artillery raid, utilize joint precision airdrop systems, resupply the unit and dig positions intended to protect troops against enemy artillery fire, officials previously said.  

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