New Army Artillery System Being Tested At Fort Riley

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Residents of Fort Riley and the surrounding communities have been hearing increased noise the past few weeks, due to multiple training exercises and initial operational testing and evaluation of the Army’s latest artillery system – the M109A7 Paladin 155mm self-propelled Howitzer. To learn more about the Paladin system, visit the following websites:

Story: The Future Is Now For Field Artillery

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Training noise will continue at Fort Riley through late March as Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division complete range training on a compressed timeline; units involved include the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, Division Artillery and several National Guard and Army Reserve units. Specific periods of increased volume of fire are expected Feb.15 to 18, Feb. 26 to March 2, and March 8 to 22. Visit the “Noise Advisories” page at for additional training noise information.

“U.S. Army Soldiers, especially those assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, must be prepared to fight in any condition, day or night,” said Fort Riley Garrison Commander Col. John Lawrence. “In order to do this, and maintain proficiency, they must train in as many elements as possible before deploying into harm’s way. Fort Riley’s simulated and virtual training can only replace a certain amount of the hands-on live training required to build fighting skills.”

Lawrence added he understands that daily life can be occasionally disrupted by the sometimes intrusive noise caused by on-post training.

“I, along with other Fort Riley and 1st Infantry Division leaders,appreciate the sacrifices made by our neighbors as Soldiers build readiness and train for the defense of our country,” he said.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.