GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The latest medium-range field Howitzers are coming to Europe as one of the recent upgrades to the Vilseck, Germany-based 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.

Lt. Col. Steve Bergosh, commander of the regiment’s Fires Squadron, said his unit will receive new lightweight M-777 towed Howitzers to replace its 1970s-era M-198 towed Howitzers in June.

"We’ll be the first American unit in Europe to get the triple seven," he said, after ruck-marching 11 kilometers with his men as part of a cavalry "spur ride" Thursday.

The 2nd Cav is in reset mode after returning late last year from a 15-month deployment to Iraq.

Bergosh said the M-777 is like a towed version of the self-propelled Paladin Howitzers fielded by heavy U.S. Army brigades. The difference is the new gun is lightweight and portable, he said.

"It has got increased strategic and tactical mobility. It is so light you can air assault it. It lands and it is ready to fire in a couple of minutes. It can fire precision-guided munitions," he said.

The M-777, which, according to, can fire rocket-assisted ammunition at targets up to 40 kilometers away, is the first major upgrade to medium-range artillery since 1979, Bergosh said.

"It is light years ahead of what we had before," he said.

The other major upgrade for the regiment will be the Joint Network Node (JNN) — a satellite network-based communication system, Bergosh said.

Capt. Adrian Massey, who commands the regimental signals unit — Lima Troop — said the JNN will be fielded next month.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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