Live rocket fire training at Yakima Training Center

Live rocket fire training at Yakima Training Center »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Hundreds of soldiers are testing a high-mobility artillery rocket system. It's so precise, a missile could be fired from the Yakima Training Center and pinpoint one of the legs of the Space Needle. Action News learned how this weapon works and who's trained to use it.

It's powerful, it's fast and it's accurate. It's called HIMARS standing for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. HIMARS can be used virtually anywhere and in any weather conditions. It quickly deploys rockets and missiles with pinpoint accuracy.

"To put a rocket on a dime, it's just really impressive," said Spec. Patrick Sheehan, a gunner for Alpha One Two.

HIMARS can hit a target as close as 15 miles away or as far away as 200. Crews showed how it shouldn't take longer than three minutes from locating a target to a launch and strike. This advanced machinery is in a league of its own for soldiers like Specialist Cesar Zertuche, who is training to use it.

"This shooting rocket and missiles is like that blows what I had way out of the water. This thing is just like-the massive just firepower we carry...it's unmentionable. It's crazy," said Specialist Cesar Zertuche, a gunner for Alpha One One.

But it doesn't come cheap. The HIMARS system can hold six rockets or one missile. Now, I'm told one live rocket can run about 80-thousand dollars so when fully-loaded, ammunition alone can cost just under half a million dollars.

For Specialist Zertuche, this is more than just a training exercise.

"It feels good because this is what my dad did before me and now that I'm doing it, I could feel what he felt. I get to see what he saw. So when I fired my first rocket yesterday it just-it lit up my world," he said.

And he'll light up the world for the next week as exercises go on both day and night inside the safety of the Yakima Training Center.

There are about 200 men and women from the 17th Fire Brigade currently deployed in the Middle East. These live fire rocket and missile exercises help increase mission readiness.