By Ashley Roy, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Public Affairs
February 2013 marks the 10-year anniversary of Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in Edinburgh, Ind., as a mobilization station in support of the Global War on Terror and other missions around the world.
According to the official Atterbury website more than 175,000 military and civilian men and women have deployed through the installation since 2003.
From its inception during World War II, to its reactivation for the Korean War and most recently the Global War on Terror, Atterbury has been a constant presence in training and mobilization efforts for more than 70 years.
When the installation became activated in 2003 the post was not the same as it is today. There were fewer buildings, fewer employees and fewer people outside the state of Indiana that recognized the name Camp Atterbury.
Ron Morris, Deputy Commander for Mobilization Operations at Atterbury, came to the post in 1994, was mobilized in 2004 and has been here ever since.
The Atterbury he remembers during the years of activation differs greatly from the installation it is today.
Sometimes in the winter months there would be very few people around, and on occasion Morris was the only one on post; a big change from how it is today.
According to Atterbury newspaper archives, by May 2003 more than 600 soldiers were assigned or attached to the post to facilitate the mobilization process. Ten years later that number would grow to more than 1300 Soldiers and civilians employed in support of the mobilization mission.
A lot of things happened fairly quickly when it came down that Atterbury would be activated, said Morris. The Installation Support Unit was mobilized, people started arriving, medical came down and it was a lot of chaos as everyone readied themselves to begin accepting mobilizing soldiers.
“In the beginning we had to share facilities, so the gym was the soldier readiness processing site and then at night it was converted into medical,” said Morris.
With Atterbury not have many facilities in the first few years, the installation had to stay open almost 24 hours a day to get everything done.
“It took a lot of teamwork and a lot of ‘can do’ to get it figured out, but we made it work. I think one of the things that has set Atterbury apart is that since the beginning we’ve had a really strong customer support ethos,” said Morris.
Three years after being activated as a Reserve Component Mobilization Station, Atterbury went on to be named as one of six Power Generation Platforms in the U.S.
In 2005 the capabilities of Camp Atterbury expanded once again with the acquisition of Muscatatuck in North Vernon, Ind., formerly the Muscatatuck State Development Center, and the opening of the Joint Simulations Training and Exercise Center.
“It was great because you could do a better job of theatre immersion, especially for some of the specialty missions like the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and Kosovo Force,” said Morris.
With these new urban capabilities and the advancement of training facilities on post, the installation hosted numerous large-scale training operations such as NATO’s Bold Quest and U.S. Northern Command’s Vibrant Response exercise.
According to Morris these exercises helped to expand not only the training capabilities, but also the awareness of Atterbury amongst the military community.
“The great thing today is that Atterbury has made a committed effort to make continued infrastructure investments,” stated Morris.
The soldier readiness processing site grew from a gym to a complex of five buildings; there are new medical buildings being built, additional classroom space and a lot of things that will enhance training at Atterbury.
Since 2003 there have been 740 improvement projects, according to Morris.
“In the beginning there was a lot of learning and a lot of long hours,” remembers Morris, but through the years the installation has grown to be a place where many units and soldiers say that given the choice they would rather mobilize at Atterbury.
Camp Atterbury is currently making plans to recognize the installation’s 10 years of training and mobilization excellence as they continue to demonstrate their motto “preparamus”, meaning “we are ready”.
A decade of accomplishments
2003: Camp Atterbury is activated as a Reserve Component Mobilization Station for the first time since the 1950’s, in support of the Global War on Terror.
2004: Camp Atterbury partners with the Crane Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center to allow testing of Crane technology at Atterbury ranges, thus expanding military support efforts.
2005: Indiana National Guard opens Muscatatuck in North Vernon, Ind., for training in a realistic urban environment.
2006: Camp Atterbury is named as one of six Power Generation Platforms for training troops for mobilization.
2007: Vigilant Guard, the Indiana National Guard’s support piece for Northern Edge’s large-scale exercise Ardent Sentry, takes place at Atterbury and Muscatatuck.
2008: Soldiers ban together to offer aid to the installation and surrounding communities after an F2 tornado caused severe damage and flooding.
2009: Atterbury and Muscatatuck host ARNORTH and Vibrant Response for the first time.
2010: Camp Atterbury Land Exchange is announced by Gov. Mitch Daniels, to expand the installation by more than 3,000 acres.
2011: For the first time, Camp Atterbury and the Muscatatuck Training Range hosts Bold Quest, a NATO-led multinational training exercise.
2012: Ground is broken for new Operational Readiness Training Complexes.