Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Regiment, with units based in Milan, Macomb and Galesburg conducted their annual training earlier this month at Fort McCoy, using the M777 Howitzer, a new weapon for Illinois National Guard Soldiers. The M777 replaced an older 155 millimeter cannon. The new gun is smaller than its predecessor and takes a third less time to set up. According to, platoon sergeant John Feehan with Battery C in Galesburg, the new weapon is also half the weight, mainly due to the use of titanium, and it is all digital. Last month’s training with live fire missions allowed the unit to work on the new system and become proficient with it over the course of the two-week exercise.