Commentary | Aug. 10, 2021

Training Center Yorktown gets new modern firing range named in honor of Coast Guard heroes 

By Janki Patel, MyCG Writer

Training Center Yorktown opened a new, state-of-the-art firing range in March 2021, named after two incredibly heroic Coast Guardsman—Lt. Thomas James Eugene Crotty and Chief Petty Officer Louis Cullen Etheridge, Jr. 

After two years of construction and renovations, the Crotty-Etheridge Hall was completed in April 2020 and opened in March of 2021. The major functional areas of the small arms firing range are as follows: 

  • A 14-lane fully-enclosed firing range with six-foot-wide buffer lanes on each side of the firing lanes.  

  • Armory and weapons cleaning spaces. 

  • Locker rooms.  

The range supports: 

  • 84 firearms student instructors per year, with six convenings of Federal Acquisition Institute "C" school classes a year. 

  • 120 gunner's mate (GM) "A" school students a year. Each is given the opportunities to qualify on pistol, rifle and shotguns, and basic and advance courses of fire. "A" school students conduct blank firing of both crew service machine guns--the M240B and the newly fielded M1A1 50Cal. 

Additionally, there is the capacity to host the Department of the Army's Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) instructors. These gatherings occur twice a year of GM02 Small Arms Repair Course for Intermediate and direct support maintenance. 

The building has also been fitted with a bullet containment system, that will provide the maximum possible reduction of hazardous lead materials, while offering an environmentally clean range, which will ensure the highest degree of safety possible for all employees and shooters.  

The newly improved building will help future Coast Guard members interested in becoming firearms instructors to receive better hands-on training with state-of-the-art equipment and resources. 

Crotty was a United States Coast Guardsman who received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Prisoner of War medals posthumously for his actions during World War II in the Pacific Theater. 

“Lt. Crotty is the only known Coast Guardsman to serve in defense of the Philippines,” said Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard. “His service authorizes the Coast Guard to display the Philippine Defense Battle Streamer on our Coast Guard Ensign.”  

Etheridge, Jr., was a United States Coast Guardsman who received the Bronze Star and the first military medal bestowed on an African-American Coast Guardsman for combat heroism for his actions during World War II in the Atlantic Theater. 

Related articles on the heroes: 

The Long Blue Line: LT Crotty and the Battle for Corregidor 

The Long Blue Line: Gun captain and African-American war hero Louis Etheridge