Navy Gunnery Training

Camp Roberts, California

by Lieutenant Larry Irwin



Camp Roberts display put together by Camp Roberts Curator Gary McMaster, with Materials provided by Larry.

During his return from Vietnam OiC PCF-10 duty, Lieutenant Irvin was tasked with stopping by the Mobile Riverine Force and recording some historical photos of Task Forces 115, 116 and 117. See below for a link to view several of his photos.

LT Irwin was then stationed as an instructor at NIOTC. He spent a couple of months as a classroom trainer and hands-on trainer in the Suisan Sloughs. Then he was given the responsibility of the live fire training at Camp Roberts. Larry reported to Marine Major Chuck Lattig while at that command.

In Larry’s words: “Before Camp Roberts was used as a live fire training facility, the trainees were flown from Travis AFB down to Coronado Island off San Diego. From there they embarked on a couple of LCMs that were outfitted with .50 Cal, 20 MM and 40 MM cannons. The boats circled around the west side of the island and commenced live fire training against the hillside, scaring the hell out of the resident goats. The Navy switched to Camp Roberts mainly because the contractors who provided the aircraft to fly us to Coronado didn’t have the money to properly maintain their two planes. On the return flight from Coronado on what turned out to be the last flight, the larger of the two planes, in which I was riding, was streaming smoke from the two out board engines and upon landing bounced twice before settling to the ground. The Air Force Police met the plane at the end of the runway and ordered the pilot to pull off the runway and stop the plane. We had to de-plane and walk about 1.5 miles to the terminal. The plane had to be towed to its final stopping place. We were told later that it was strewing parts and oil on the runway which tends to upset the Air Force. Too close for comfort.”

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Click HERE to view a PDF file of the Banner that Larry has provided
Click HERE to view a PDF file of some History of the Gunnery Training

To View several of Larry’s Photos visit this link on Don Blankenship’s River Vet website.

A big “Bravo Zulu” to Larry for sharing this portion of our history…!