Big guns returning to Bragg

Marines fire artillery (AP file image)

February 22, 2010 4:53:51 PM PST
If you live near Fort Bragg, break out your ear plugs because you're going to need them for the next month.

Camp Lejeune Marines are headed to Bragg to conduct their annual spring artillery training. The 155 millimeter howitzers can fire rounds about 35 miles down range and land within 50 meters of a target.

Beginning march 1, folks who live near the fort will hear firsthand the power the weapon brings to the battlefield. Marines will bring two dozen of the big guns to Bragg.

"It is one of the hardships of living by Fort Bragg or any other large military installation. There are going to be some sound effects coming in from the training. And for the people who are upset about it, we do apologize," offered Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum.

Jonathan Smith is one of those people. He lives in Hoke County not far from one of the impact areas. He remembers when the Marines came to town last year.

"Bombs going off - shaking the whole house. Even the windows in the house would shake when it gets really excessive. And it just goes on till 1, 2, 2:30 at night. They just don't seem to care anymore," he told ABC11.

There are several housing areas that are very close to the Fort Bragg reservation. And when the big guns go off, it doesn't matter if you're two or 20 miles away.

"But it's real loud. Sometimes, certain pictures come off the wall. It just depends on how loud the boom is," said Fayetteville resident Latoya Salone.

Military leaders know the noise is a pain and do have some restrictions in place.

"There are fire restrictions between 11 o'clock at night and 5 o'clock in the morning. And then also on Sunday mornings during church services between 10 and 12," said McCollum.

The training ends April second.

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