As Camp Pendleton holds training, blasts might be heard for 50 miles

A Marine drill instructor shouts commands to a group of recruits during an early morning training exercise at Camp Pendleton in 2007.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

If you’ve heard the sound of artillery fire and explosions in San Clemente or Oceanside, don’t despair. The Marines at Camp Pendleton are just conducting annual live-fire training exercises.

The 11th Marine regiment began its training on Aug. 19 and will continue through Wednesday. About 1,700 Marines at the base are training to use the M-777 Lightweight Howitzer and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.

Neighbors can expect to hear the sound of firing followed by a loud boom on impact.

“It gets pretty loud. Loud enough to rattle houses within the area,” said Sgt. Alfred Lopez, a spokesman for the 1st Marine Division.


The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System is used in Afghanistan, and some of the units in training this month are preparing to deploy to that country in the near future, said Col. Stephen Liszewski, in a video interview posted online.

“We remain a nation at war, and units from the 11th Marine regiment continue to deploy to Afghanistan in support of everything our nation is doing in that part of the world,” Liszewski said.

“And before we send Marines forward to Afghanistan we’ve got to make sure that they’re fully trained and ready to operate in a combat environment.”

The exercises will go on throughout the day and, depending on weather and other conditions, might be heard up to 50 miles away.


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