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Citrus Heights Messenger

Hard Working Vince Robles Carries on with Local Mission

Nov 08, 2023 05:22PM ● By Elise Spleiss

The Robles family today: (Left) LaVon Robles, wife, Vince Robles, Robert Robles, Son, Brandie Robles Daughter-Law, Ryder-Lynn Grand Daughter at the Old spaghetti factory. Courtesy photo


CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Vince Robles, facilities manager of the Citrus Heights Community Center enlisted in the Army in January 1971 at the age of 19 in Los Angeles.

After having a teenage run-in with the law at 18, his judge gave him the choice of going to jail or enlisting in the service. Basic training took him to Fort Ord, then to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for their artillery school. He wanted to get a job as a mechanic but that didn’t look to be in the plan, at least for now.

Vince Robles in Army headshotVince Robles circa 1971. Courtesy photo

He was then sent to Germany instead of Vietnam to serve out his two and a half years. This training has been done in the mountains at Grafenwohr which is next to the Czech border since WWII. The Russian army trains on the other side of the border in plain sight of the other. Training is year-round, both maintaining their show of force to each other.

Robles’ unit was sent out to blow up a field and he was sent to first clear the field. Upon returning the truck wouldn’t start. He fixed the truck which got him assigned to the motor pool as a mechanic which is what he wanted initially.

Vince Robles servicing trucksVince Robles at the Motor Pool in Baumholder servicing a Deuce and a Half Truck. Courtesy photo

He completed his time at Graphen as an artillery cannoneer. It took 13 people to work an 8-inch M110 gun he worked with. The shell was 201 pounds and took 3 people to load. His job was working with fuses. At that time, it was the largest piece of artillery the Army had. It has since been retired; the new gun can be loaded in 30 seconds vs. the M110’s three minutes.

Robles attended this training every year until he left the service. One of his jobs was to camouflage the gun before they left.

After that month Robles was sent to work the motor pool in Baumholder, the largest military installation outside the United States with 13,000 individuals including artillery, infantry, and engineers. Robles explained that if you weren’t in the infantry, you supported it.

Robles was in Baumholder during the 1972 Summer Olympics Munich Massacre when Black September infiltrated the Olympics and killed two members of the Israeli Olympic team and took nine hostages. All of Germany was on alert and his unit slept with their weapons.

Vince Robles sits in an army jeep

Sitting at the driver’s side of an army jeep in Germany, Vince Robles is ready to move with his M16 rifle. Courtesy photo


In October of 1973 he and his unit was told to load up all their equipment and go down to the rail head at the train station. They were going to Israel ready to go to war if needed. They sat at the motor pool on alert for three days, ready to aid Israel during the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arab nations.  There were more than 20,00 Arab causalities while Israel suffered less than 1,000 fatalities.

Robles was to be on his way home but had to wait until the issue was resolved.  Robles finished his tour in January of 1974 and spent 50 years as a mechanic including working for BART.

Robles is proud of his father who was a WWII Navy veteran on a troop transport, the USS Kenmore.

Vince Robles visits the National Cemeteryin Luxemburg Vince Robles visits the National Cemetery in Luxemburg where heroes such as General George Patton were buried. Courtesy photo


Support personnel often don’t get the recognition they earn. Support jobs in the military are put at 85% to 95 % depending on the military branch and the global situation.  This explanation is from Daniel Berry, USAF retired Master Sergeant. “We deploy a few platoons of soldiers/marines to sweep a village. They are never without backup. There will be tanks, artillery support, air cover, medical evacuation, supply via helicopter or convoy. They will have satellite communication, night vision equipment, and access to the best INTEL we can provide.

Likely there will be an aircraft battle group within striking distance with a carrier, destroyers, cruisers and a submarine or two. Something like 6000 people and 80+ aircraft are ready to support the trigger pullers. Probably there will be an armed drone above.

Any critical mission will have coverage 24/7 with redundancy for leave, or illness. We have finance offices, legal offices, medical, dental, motor pool and that list goes on. We currently have about 1.3 million people in the armed forces. They all have jobs and tend to keep pretty busy.


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