Camp Atterbury JMTC marks 10 years of Soldier training, mobilization
February 6, 2013
EDINBURGH, Ind. (Army News Service, Feb. 6, 2013) -- February 2013 marks the 10-year anniversary of Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in Edinburgh, Ind., as a mobilization station in support of overseas contingency operations and other missions around the world.
More than 175,000 military and civilian men and women have deployed through the installation since 2003, according to the official Atterbury website,
From its inception during World War II, to its reactivation for the Korean War and most recently for overseas contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, 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, the deputy commander for mobilization operations at Atterbury, came to the post in 1994, was mobilized in 2004, and has been at the camp 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, he said.
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 has grown to more than 1,300 Soldiers and civilians employed in support of the mobilization mission.
A lot of things happened fairly quickly when it was announced that Atterbury would be activated, Morris said. When the announcement came, the installation support unit was mobilized, people started arriving, medical support came aboard, and "it was a lot of chaos" as Atterbury Soldiers and civilians prepared to begin accepting mobilizing Soldiers, he said.
"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.
Because Atterbury did 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," Morris said. "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."
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 theater 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," Morris said.
Today, the Soldier readiness processing site has grown from a gym to a complex of five buildings. Additionally, construction is underway for new medical buildings, and new classroom space has improved training opportunities at the camp.
Since 2003 there have been 740 improvement projects, Morris said.
"In the beginning there was a lot of learning and a lot of long hours," Morris said. But because of the hard work, Morris said, the installation has grown into 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."