Rockets fly at Yakima Training Center - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Rockets fly at Yakima Training Center

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Yakima, WASH.--One of the most advanced pieces of equipment in the United States Army is currently sitting at the Yakima Training Center--the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.

"This is the only system that is land based that shoots precision ammunitions of this caliber," said Sgt. Alex Joy. "There are some others that we like to call pop guns, but this is the beast."

"Yakima is one of the few places near Fort Lewis where we can actually come out and live fire the rockets," said Lieutenant Colonel Joe Hilbert.

HIMARS can launch six rockets and one missile at a time, and that one missile can go from Yakima to Seattle.

"If we had a live missile we could shoot it from Yakima, and we could hit one of the post space needles without damaging either of the other two," said Lieutenant Colonel Joe Hilbert. "It's got the ability to have that level of accuracy at that great a distance."

"The chance of error with this thing is slim and none," said Sgt. Joy. "My eight years of working with this system, I've seen no hang-fires, misfires, unsafe actions with this."

The 17th Fires Brigade has around 2,500 soldiers, and many are currently deployed in Afghanistan or Kuwait. Soldiers tell me ground force commanders will call their battalions in when they need to destroy a target but want to minimize collateral damage.

"If you were in an urban area for example, the rockets or missiles could engage the specific building and that's your target building," said Lieutenant Colonel Joe Hilbert. "Then depending on the distance of the other buildings you could do that without damaging the other buildings around you."

"We don't even have to see the enemy," said Sgt. Joy. "Our battle buddies on the front lines can see them, give us a call and we'll take care of it. No problem."

The 17th Fires Brigade will be doing exercises at the Yakima Training Center for about another week. Then they'll head back to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

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