Camp Atterbury

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Camp Atterbury
Bartholomew / Brown / Johnson counties,
near Edinburgh, Indiana
Camp atterbury.jpg
Mass-enlistment ceremony of WACs, 10 August 1943, at Camp Atterbury, Indiana
Type Military Training Base
Site information
Controlled by United States
Site history
Built 1941–1942
In use 1942–1946, 1950-1954, 1969 – 2013.[1]

Camp Atterbury, near Edinburgh, Indiana, USA, is a training base of the Indiana National Guard. It was planned just months before the U.S. entry into World War II. Originally surveyed and researched by the Hurd Company, the present site was recommended to Congress in 1941. Construction commenced shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. More than 1,500 wood frame buildings were constructed, sized to hold more than one army infantry division. It also contained the 47-building, (concrete block, 2-story) Wakeman General and Convalescent Hospital, the largest hospital of its kind in the US in the 1940s. It was known for its progressive plastic eye replacements. During World War II, the U.S. 39th Evacuation Hospital, the 101st Infantry Battalion (Separate) and four U.S. Army infantry divisions, the 30th, 83rd, 92nd, and 106th, trained here. The 106th left Camp Atterbury on 9 October 1944 and two months later was on the front lines, crossing into Belgium on 10 December 1944. Spread over a 28-mile (45 km) front, they bore the brunt of the Battle of the Bulge with more than 7,000 total combat-related casualties (combined missing, killed, or wounded in action.)

The camp was named for William Wallace Atterbury (1866–1935), an executive of the Pennsylvania Railroad who ultimately became the railroad's president. Upon American entry into World War I, Atterbury, then a PRR vice-president, was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a Brigadier General to oversee the construction and operation of U.S. military railways in France, between August 1917 and May 1919.[2]

During World War II, Camp Atterbury was also used as a prisoner of war camp, housing German and Italian soldiers.[3] A small Roman Catholic chapel was built by the Italian prisoners, which was restored and dedicated in 1989.[4]

Shortly after the end of World War II, operations were suspended. At the onset of the Korean War, it was once again activated with the arrival of the 28th Infantry Division in 1950. The 28th left for Germany, to be replaced by the 31st Infantry Division. When the 31st left in 1954 for Camp Carson, Colorado, operations were once again suspended. It was later given to the Indiana Army National Guard.

Serving as a National Guard training facility, it again gained importance following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center (CAJMTC) was activated in February 2003.[5] Thousands of regular and reserve forces have received training here just prior to deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq. It is one of two Guard bases with this mission, Camp Shelby in Mississippi being the other. Camp Atterbury has also trained thousands of civilians; from the Inter-Agency and DOD (Department of Defense) as they prepare to mobilize in support of stability operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait.

Originally 43,000 acres (170 km²), it is now reduced to approximately 30,000 acres (120 km²), with the remaining being leased to the Atterbury Job Corps, the US Department of Labor, the Hoosier Horse Park and the Johnson County Parks Department. Plans are under way to reclaim some of the area.[6]

In 2005, it gained the former Muscatatuck State Hospital grounds, composed of some 3,000 acres (12 km²) with several permanent buildings, including 5-story buildings with underground tunnels (view), to be used as an urban training facility. Troops and civilian emergency management organizations are transported from Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center to Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC) via air or ground means for training in urban warfare and operations other than war.[7]

The Civil Air Patrol's National Emergency Services Academy (NESA) is held at Camp Atterbury each summer .[8]

On 3 June 2008, a tornado hit Camp Atterbury, damaging 50 buildings, power lines, and vehicles. No injuries were reported.[9] Only four days later, soldiers and Marines at Camp Atterbury were widely utilized in response to the June 2008 Midwest floods.

In beginning of January 2013, the U.S. Government planned a budget cut called sequester, the cut included Camp Atterbury. The shutdown of the base started in February to September, laying off over 750 civilian workers and all soldiers station at Atterbury were moved out to other bases. Indiana's Governor Mike Pence planned to keep the base for National Guard, but he came in office it was too late save the base.

Camp Atterbury was chosen as the site for a UAV-focused NASA Centennial Challenge with the goal of developing some of the key technologies that will make it possible to integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into the National Airspace System. The competition is to be held on September 10 - 17, 2014. [10]

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Coordinates: 39°17′25″N 86°02′26″W / 39.29028°N 86.04056°W / 39.29028; -86.04056