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Military Park puts out call for volunteers

Area residents have the opportunity Saturday and Sunday to help tell the story of the Siege of Vicksburg.

The Vicksburg National Military Park is looking for volunteers interested in becoming involved in the park’s Living History Program. The park will be conducting artillery training for new artillery volunteers Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. to prepare them for the park’s summer cannon program.

In case of rain, the training will be held at the park’s maintenance area.

“We’re recruiting more folks to help out with the summer program,” Ranger Lela White said, adding the firing demonstrations are held each weekend during the summer and July 4. “We start the weekend before Memorial Day,” White said. “We don’t fire on Memorial Day.”

White is the park’s black powder expert. To qualify, she spent two weeks of historic weapons training at an Army National Guard base in Alabama.

She said the park’s training program includes teaching safety procedures, providing information on the park, and drilling on the cannon. During the safety training, she said, the volunteers “are taught about the explosive nature of black powder and the hazards they need to be aware with the cannons.

“They are also taught misfire procedures, the procedures to deal with any misfires, and procedures to fire the cannon.”

She said a cannon crew usually includes seven people, but can include up to eight or nine.

People ages 16 and older interested in participating in the training can call White at 601-636-0583, or by email at lela_white@nps.gov.

“Sixteen can only do a couple of positions, but 18 can do everything,” she said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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