Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Camp Roberts, the U.S. Army training base located 16 miles north of Paso Robles, where he visits with Gary McMaster, chairman and curator at the Camp Roberts Historical Museum.
Camp Roberts dates from March 1941, when it commenced operations as America’s largest U.S. Army basic training base. Throughout WWII, more than 436,000 infantry and field artillery troops completed a 17-week basic training stint at the base.
Camp Robert’s post office processed more letters and packages than any other office in America, and the post’s railway depot was the busiest of Southern Pacific’s entire route. More than 9,000 construction workers were involved in building the base. Following WWII, Camp Roberts served as a basic training base for troops who served in Korea and Vietnam.
The California National Guard assumed command of Camp Roberts in 1971 and it continues its mission of training troops from all branches of the service, as well as detachments from Allied partner countries around the world.
Approximately 250,000 military and civilian personnel have trained at Camp Roberts annually since 2010, using its 50-plus weapons ranges, training courses and simulators. The camp’s recently-constructed Combined Arms Collective Training Facility (CACTF) uses cutting-edge technology to replicate an urban combat environment and provides exercise operations up to the battalion level.
The camp has two Urban Search and Extraction Training Sites that provide training for Guard members and civilian mutual aid partners. Camp Roberts is also home to the Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System Facility (UAV’s) providing Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle training exercises. Camp Roberts infrastructure includes 104 barracks with 5,105 beds, a dining facility, six battalion office buildings and five miles of railroad tracks.
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