Soldiers Training With Newly Adopted Fire Support System
If you pass by the Yakima Training Center this weekend, don't be surprised to hear a loud boom or two.
The 17th Fire Brigade in Yakima is training it's soldiers to use a newly adopted artillery vehicle, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, better known as the H.I.M.A.R.S.
Specialist Cesar Zertuche Jr. is a native of Texas, and one of 400 different soldiers being trained, and has looked forward to this opportunity for quite some time.
"It feels good, because this is what my dad did before me. And now that I'm doing it, I could feel what he felt, I could see what he saw. So when I fired my first rocket yesterday... it just lit up my world," said Zertuche Jr.
The H.I.M.A.R.S. is a fire support system that carries up to six rockets, which can be programmed to hit targets more than 300 kilometers away.
It is easier to program and more precise than previois systems
Crews tell us this technology is so precise, you can fire it from Yakima, and have it travel to Seattle, where it can strike one leg on the Space Needle.
"It can hit within... Right where you're standing, your feet, to put a rocket on a dime is just really impressive," said Specialist Patrick Sheehan.
Zertuche says he still has a lot of learning to do with the artillery system, but he's willing to do it for his brothers in arms, and his father in Texas.
"You know, waiting for the count down, waiting for that fire command... Bam, it came in, I hit the switch and was like... 'you know what, that's what he did, this is what I'm doing, let's move forward, let's continue. Let me keep on making him proud, making this battery proud,'" said Zertuche.
There are 32 H.I.M.A.R.S. systems at the training center--a single rocket can cost up to 80 thousand dollars.
The systems will not be out into the field until all training is complete.