Job Family: Combat Operations Artillery and Missile Crew Members
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Marine Corps  | National Guard

Supplemental Information
Profile  | 
Photo 1: Artillery
crew fire during battle.
Photo 2:
Crew member gauges distance.

William Alston
Occupation: Artillery and Missile Crew Member

I am originally from Boston MA. I wanted to attend college, but did not have the finances, so I worked in sheet metal after high schoo…

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Short Description
The military uses artillery and missiles to protect infantry and tank units, as well as to secure and protect land and sea positions from enemy attack. The personnel who operate these systems will usually specialize by type of weapon system such as cannons, howitzers, missiles, or rockets. Artillery and missile crew members position, direct, and fire these weapons to destroy enemy positions and aircraft.


What They Do
Artillery and missile crew members in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate computerized equipment to determine target locations
  • Prepare ammunition for firing and load weapons
  • Operate tactical vehicle
  • Fire artillery and missile systems at enemy targets
  • Clean and maintain weapons
  • Test, remove, and replace fire control system components on launcher
  • Mount communication components in vehicles and launchers
  • Operate and perform operator maintenance on communications equipment

Helpful Attributes
Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to think and remain calm in stressful situations
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Interest in cannon and rocket operations
  • Willingness to face danger

Training Provided
Job training consists of classroom instruction and field training under simulated combat situations. Training length varies depending upon specialty. Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses. Course content typically includes:
  • Methods of computing target locations
  • Ammunition-handling techniques
  • Weapon, missile, and rocket system operations
  • Artillery tactics
  • Maintenance programs

Work Environment
Artillery and missile crew members work under different conditions depending on the type of weapon system they use. Some crew members spend a lot of time in field training exercises, where they work, eat, and sleep outdoors and in tents. Others live and work aboard ships or submarines.


Civilian Counterparts
Although the job of artillery and missile crew member has no equivalent in civilian life, the close teamwork, discipline, and leadership experiences it provides are helpful in many civilian jobs.

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