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SALT LAKE CITY — Don't be surprised if it sounds like a war zone along portions of the Wasatch Front over the weekend. It's not a war - it's soldiers learning how to be prepared for one.
Artillery training exercises are underway at Camp Williams with some of the biggest guns on campus as the Utah National Guard conducts training with M109 Alpha 6 Paladin Howitzers. Because of the weather conditions, the sound is going to carry farther than normal.
Training like this happens twice a year at Camp Williams. It's the Utah National Guard's 640th Regional Training Institute. Soldiers come here from all over the country to learn how to fire a Howitzer.
This weekend, the group will fire off 348 rounds, running exercises from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. We're talking 155 mm rounds being fired off, that weight 97.3 pounds each.
"We have multiple types of rounds," said Lt. Col. Coy Bryant of the Utah National Guard. "This particular one is a high explosive point detonating fuse, so when it hits the ground it will function and blow up."
For this training, the soldiers are shooting about 8,000 meters — approximately five miles. And because of our cold weather and cloud cover, the sound from that will travel a little bit farther than normal.
"The sound will roll under the clouds and particularly the east bench homes will hear it louder," LTC. Bryant said.
Camp Williams also trains soldiers to be target observers, watching what happens down range at the receiving end of an artillery barrage.
"The good thing about artillery is we can shoot it in all weather, 24 hours a day. Where some aircraft can't fly in inclement weather, we can still provide that fire support," Bryant said.