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See Huge M777 Howitzer US Marines Burned out Fighting ISIS in Syria

This is the huge M777 howitzer that US Marines burned out while fighting ISIS in Syria

By Daniel Brown, Business Insider

FORT BLISS, Texas — US Marines fired so many M-777 howitzer rounds in support of Syrian Democratic Forces, which eventually ousted ISIS from Raqqa, that they burned out two barrels.

"They fired more rounds in five months in Raqqa, Syria, than any other Marine artillery battalion, or any Marine or Army battalion, since the Vietnam war," Army Sgt. Major. John Wayne Troxell, senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Marine Corps Times at the end of January.

"In five months they fired 35,000 artillery rounds on ISIS targets, killing ISIS fighters by the dozens," Troxell said.

And we got to see one of these M-777s, which soldiers call the "Triple-7," during our recent trip to Fort Bliss.

Here's what we saw:

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The M777 howitzer, which entered service in 2005, is used by the Army and Marine Corps.

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Operated by an 8 to 10-man crew, the triple 7 fires 155mm precision and non-precision munitions.

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The non-precision guided munitions have a maximum range of 18.6 miles, while the Excalibur precision-guided rounds have a maximum range of 25 miles and are accurate to within 30 feet.

The howitzer can also fire up to five rounds per minute, or two rounds per minute sustained.

Here you can see the size and scale of the barrel, which is almost 17 feet long.

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It's fired by the lanyard, held below by Sergeant Greiten, who has completed multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Operators move the triple 7 up and down — or to the side — with two wheels, one of which can be seen in the lower left hand corner above.

"It's awesome," Specialist Garcia said about firing the triple 7. "Lima's don't really get you wild-up, but when you get to the hotels, it gets your blood going." Lima's are weaker charges, and hotels are stronger charges.

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Garcia deployed to Afghanistan in 2017, and said his crew fired about 300 rounds "at known pools of enemy targets."

Here's a shot of the barrel from behind.

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And here's a look down the barrel from the front.

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The panoramic telescope is used to sight targets.

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And this is the fire control quadrant, which measures the elevation.

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Here's what the triple 7 looks like raised to the max.

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And a shot of it lowered all the way down.

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Sergeant Shaw, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the only time it's lowered like that is when the enemy is close, which is not a good position to be in, given that the cannon is meant for support.

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Shaw said that his crew once took contact when he was in Afghanistan.

"If you're receiving contact on this howitzer, that means all your front lines are not there anymore, or they've been able to flank the infantry," he said.

But he understandably didn't want to go into details about the incident.

And all the triple 7s at Fort Bliss are emblazoned with the names of soldiers who have been killed in combat.

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