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$20,000 Bonus Available for Field Artillery Enlistments > Virginia National Guard > News

In early 2022, the Virginia National Guard placed special emphasis on recruiting 13B Cannon crewmen offering a $20,000 sign-up bonus to those who enlist for six years. Currently, the big $20,000 bonus is only available for Military Occupational Specialty 13B, or MOS.

“The Army is expanding its artillery force, and Virginia is part of that effort,” said Col. Todd Hubbard, Virginia National Guard chief of staff. “Over the past few years, we have deployed the most modern weapons we have ever seen. The M119A3 105mm Howitzer and the M777A2 155mm Howitzer are the same as our active duty counterparts. [use]and fire control systems are fully digitized with the latest technologies. »

The Field Artillery, nicknamed the “King of Battle,” is part of the US Army’s Combat Arms Team. Artillery uses some of the most technologically advanced weapon systems ever created to provide long range indirect fire, meaning the projectile does not follow line of sight to the intended target. The mission of field artillery is to destroy, defeat, or disrupt the enemy to ensure dominance in large-scale ground combat operations.

“It’s one of the best MOSs in the army,” said Capt. Adrian Fonville, battalion fire direction officer, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team. ‘infantry. “Once we’ve fired, all you have to do is watch the smiles on the faces of the soldiers holding the guns and figure out why you should be a 13B.”

In the Virginia Army National Guard, the state’s field artillery capability is organized under the Norfolk-based 1-111th FA, with units in Hanover and Hampton as well. The battalion comprises three batteries of six howitzers each, two firing the M119A3 105mm howitzer and one firing the M777A3 155mm towed howitzer.

“Field artillery is responsible for shaping the battlefield,” Hubbard explained. “We plan which targets to engage and when to engage them.”

Now, Hubbard explained, is an opportune time to begin a career in the field artillery as it continues to develop and modernize.

“There will be opportunities for rapid advancement, if you have what it takes,” Hubbard said.

sergeant. 1st Class Ryan Turner, platoon sergeant for Bravo Battery, 1-111th FA, has spent his entire career in the field artillery. As a civilian, he worked in a variety of fields and spent time on active duty with the 82nd Airborne Division.

“I have a lot of experience, I’ve done a lot of things, but for me, I have a lot of passion for this job,” Turner said, explaining that it’s not easy, but it is. rewarding. “It’s a lot of blood and sweat and tears, it’s hard work, but the story and the context behind it, what we stand for and the power we have, the ability we have in combat, is just amazing to me.”

In addition to shooting the deadliest weapons in the US Army’s arsenal, service as a 13B in the Virginia National Guard includes perks beyond the $20,000 signing bonus. State and federal tuition assistance provides up to $11,000 per year for use at colleges, universities, or trade schools, with additional benefits like the Montgomery GI Bill Kicker offering a monthly allowance of up to $350. Low-cost health, life and dental insurance is also available for single soldiers and their families. The Student Loan Repayment Program can also pay up to $50,000 on existing federal student loans.

“Apart from incentives, there are opportunities,” Fonville said. “You’re looking at getting a security clearance, you’re looking at getting the discipline that the military brings, you’re looking at having that overall experience of being in the military and then transferring that experience to your civilian sector, it’s enormous.”

Training to become a 13B begins with 10 weeks of basic combat training, or BCT, followed by seven weeks of advanced training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. There, soldiers learn how to calculate targets, handle ammunition, artillery tactics and, of course, how to operate firearms systems.

“Being a gunner is not an easy job,” Hubbard said. “You need both physical and mental abilities. If you like a challenge and want to prove yourself, join the Field Artillery.