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] Additionally, at the commencement of World War II a real estate project manager (Mr. John Richard Walsh, civilian) was contracted by the U.S. Army to manage initial development at Camp Atterbury to accommodate and train a full-sized triangular Army division (40,000 men at a time).[5] When the Army training camp was completed, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Edward Tisdale (Army of the United States), became Camp Atterbury's first executive officer.[6] At the same time that it was announced that the first triangular division to train at Camp Atterbury was the 83rd Infantry Division (United States), commanded by Major General John C. Milliken (Army of the United States), Indiana Army officials also reported that Camp Atterbury would soon be receiving its first contingent of Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, trained at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.[7] The first war-time all-soldiers radio show at Camp Atterbury aired on Thursday, 8 October 1942, 1310 am kilocycles Indianapolis, ; name of show "It's Time For Taps".[8] By early 1945, Camp Atterbury reached its full war-time size of 42,000 acres. Shortly after Victory over Japan Day, Brigadier General Ernest Aaron Bixby (Army of the United States), commanding officer Camp Atterbury, announced that his huge receiving and separation centers (Army's second largest "World War II Separation Center") were turning out an average of 1,000 Army discharges per day.[9]

Shortly after the end of World War II, operations were suspended. The first public announcement that the induction and separation center at Camp Atterbury were to be closed was made on 10 May 1946.[10] Finally it happened. On 5 August 1946, the induction and separation center officially "closed". On Friday afternoon, 2 August 1946, the last Army soldier to be processed and discharged was Technical Sergeant Joseph J. "Joe" Stuphar (home town: Poland, Ohio). On that day, Sergeant Stuphar received his honorable discharge certificate (Military discharge) and a handshake by Colonel Herbert H. Glidden (Army of the United States), post commander of Camp Atterbury.[11] On the afternoon of 18 September 1946, the War Department announced Wakeman Hospital would be declared surplus by 31 December. That evening, Indiana Governor Ralph F. Gates reported from his office in Indianapolis that Wakeman Hospital may be used as a temporary state mental hospital after the first of the year.[12]

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.[13] 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 in the DoD Civilian Expeditionary Workforce training program (commencing: 2009); 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.[14]

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.[15] Naval Air Systems Command sent its first Acquisition Program Manager-Logistics (APML) civilian employee (Dr. Stephen Berrey) to attend the DoD Civilian Expeditionary Workforce training program at Camp Atterbury. Dr. Stephen Berrey graduated from this program on 26 Aug 2010 (Class of 10-08), and immediately deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Civil Air Patrol's National Emergency Services Academy (NESA) is held at Camp Atterbury each summer .[16]

On 3 June 2008, a tornado hit Camp Atterbury, damaging 50 buildings, power lines, and vehicles. No injuries were reported.[17] 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 sequestration; the cut included Camp Atterbury. The shutdown of the base started in February and ran until September, laying off over 750 civilian workers. All military personnel stationed at Camp Atterbury were moved out to other bases. Indiana's Governor Mike Pence planned to keep the base open for National Guard use, but by the time he came into office it was too to 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 was held on 10 - 17 September 2014. [18]


  1. ^ "About Us: Camp Atterbury History". Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Camp Atterbury: General William Wallace Atterbury". Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  3. ^ German/Italian POW pages at
  4. ^ POW Chapel page at Indiana NG site
  5. ^ The Kokomo Tribune. "Indiana Army Camp Size Again Reduced" ("The Kokomo Dispatch": Kokomo, IN) Thursday, March 12, 1942, p.17, col.3
  6. ^ The Kokomo Tribune. "Tisdale Transferred" and "Atterbury To Get WAAC's" ("The Kokomo Dispatch: Kokomo, IN) Monday, June 8, 1942, p.13, col.3. He was shortly after promoted to Colonel and became the commanding officer
  7. ^ The Kokomo Tribune. "Infantry At Atterbury" ("The Kokomo Dispatch: Kokomo, IN) Tuesday, July 21, 1942, p.2, col.5, col.7
  8. ^ The Kokomo Tribune. "Soldiers To Offer Radio Play Thursday" ("The Kokomo Dispatch: Kokomo, IN) Wednesday, October 7, 1942, p.10, col.6. This radio show aired over radio station WISH Indianapolis, at 9:15 pm Central War Time (C.W.T.)
  9. ^ The Kokomo Tribune. "Editors Given 'Discharges' At Atterbury" ("The Kokomo Dispatch: Kokomo, IN) Saturday, September 15, 1945, p.2, col.4. Brigadier General Bixby assumed command of Camp Atterbury, 13 June 1945. The vast and fast-moving separation center discharged soldiers with sufficient points (85 points or more) or qualifying dependency. He later reported the following week that his centers were processing up to 2,000 soldiers each day, and by Sunday, 14 October 1945, reported a record discharge day of 2,574 soldiers, thus totaling 147,017 officers and enlisted released up to that day
  10. ^ The Kokomo Tribune. "Atterbury Units To Close" ("The Kokomo Dispatch: Kokomo, IN) Friday, May 10, 1946, p.3, col.3. Expected closing date was given was given as 31 July 1946. This was first announcement that the two centers (induction and separation) were named as just one center
  11. ^ The Kokomo Tribune. "Separation Center Of Atterbury Closed" ("The Kokomo Dispatch: Kokomo, IN) Monday, August 5, 1946, p.3, col.4. Army Technical Sergeant Stuphar (6 July 1918, Youngstown OH - 17 May 1980, Mahoning OH) was the 537,445th soldier to be discharged at the center. Remaining at Camp Atterbury were about 10,000 military and civilian personnel keeping in operation the reception center, MP activities, and the Wakeman General Hospital
  12. ^ The Kokomo Tribune. "State May Acquire Wakeman Hospital" ("Kokomo Dispatch: Kokomo, IN) Thursday, September 19, 1946, p.22, col.6. This would become a temporary arrangement until the construction of the new northern Indiana mental hospital was completed. War Department plans were to gradually remove patients from Wakeman Hospital, while state plans included: turning Camp Atterbury into an Indiana National Guard training center by mid-December, and allowing Ohio guardsmen to utilize the Atterbury training facilities
  13. ^
  14. ^ Bloom, Phil (15 April 2010). "Land exchange proposal a benefit to Atterbury expansion, sportsmen". Indiana DNR. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  15. ^ MUTC Home Page "What is MUTC?"
  16. ^ NESA Page on
  17. ^ Press Release, accessed 7 September 2008[dead link]
  18. ^ UAS Airspace Operations Challenge

External links[edit]

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