Artillery and Missile Crew Members

Artillery and Missile Crew Members

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.

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
  • Set up and load weapons
  • Fire artillery and missile systems at enemy targets
  • Clean and maintain weapons

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.

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
  • Gun, missile, and rocket system operations
  • Artillery tactics

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.