Artillery and Missile Crew Member ... (Military - Enlisted)  What They Do

Just the Facts


Artillery and missile crew members target, fire, and maintain weapons used to destroy enemy positions, aircraft, and vessels. The specific duties they perform vary by the type of combat operations they support. Field artillery crew members predominantly use guns, cannons, and howitzers in ground combat operations; air defense artillery crew members predominantly use missiles and rockets; and, naval artillery crew members predominantly use torpedoes and missiles launched from a ship or submarine.

This career is part of the Government and Public Administration cluster National Security pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Operates high technology cannon artillery weapon systems; loads and fires howitzers; sets fuse and charge on a variety of munitions, including high explosive artillery rounds, laser guided projectiles, scatterable mines, and rocket assisted projectiles
  • Employs rifles, machine guns, and grenade and rocket launchers in offensive and defensive operations
  • Drives and operates heavy and light wheeled trucks and tracked vehicles
  • Participates in reconnaissance operations to include security operations and position preparation
  • Operates in reduced visibility environments with infrared and starlight enhancing night vision devices
  • Supervises handling, transportation, accountability, and distribution of ammunition
  • Supervises and directs the construction, camouflage, and defense of the section position
  • Performs computer operations including fire mission processing, fire plan schedules, and database construction; computes and applies meteorological and muzzle velocity corrections
  • Compiles information for and presents briefings on current operations, situations, and after action reports
  • Maintains fire capability charts, and friendly and enemy situation maps

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel