Blast from the past: Virginia Guard takes artillery afloat

Virginia National Guard soldiers undertook an unusual amphibious live-fire exercise last week when their unit conducted its first floating artillery mission since World War II.

Virginia National Guard soldiers conduct waterborne artillery live fire exercises during Operation GATOR April 24-25, 2019, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. National Guard photo/Mike Vrabel

Virginia National Guard soldiers conduct waterborne artillery live fire exercises during Operation GATOR April 24-25, 2019, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. National Guard photo/Mike Vrabel

The 1st Battalion of the 11th Field Artillery Regiment, based at Norfolk, Va., took their 105-mm M119 howitzers south to the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejuene, N.C., for Operation Gator held April 24-25.

Boarding landing craft mechanized (LCM8) operated by the active duty Army’s 11th Transportation Battalion/7th Transportation Brigade from Joint Base Eustis-Langley in Virginia, the troops got underway on the Intracoastal Waterway through Mile Hammock Bay.

The exercise had the soldiers receive fire missions and send their rounds downrange. It was the first waterborne artillery mission for the 111th since the unit brought howitzers on Higgins landing craft to the D-Day invasion of the Normandy beaches in France on June 6, 1944.

National Guard photo/ Mike Vrabel

National Guard photo/ Mike Vrabel

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