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There’s a small howitzer, almost a mortar, on the helipad at Camp Casey. I’ve seen it a bunch of times, but never at 1700.

At 1700, it seems, it gets set off with a blank charge daily.

When this happens, there are a few consequences. A 20-foot fireball shoots briefly out the muzzle. A shower of tiny unburnt gunpowder particles clatters onto the helicopter. And the sheer noise of it punches you in the chest loud enough to make you step back.

Next time I’m at Cp. Casey at 1700, I’m wearing ear protection.

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