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 and four U.S. Army infantry divisions, the 30th, 83rd, 92nd, and 106th, trained here. The 106th left Camp Atterbury and within 2 weeks was in the front lines. Spread over a 28-mile 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.)
During WWII, Camp Atterbury was also used as a prisoner of war camp, housing German and Italian soldiers. A small Roman Catholic chapel was built by the Italian prisoners, which was restored and dedicated in 1989
Shortly after the end of World War II, the base was put into mothballs. 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, the base once again was mothballed. 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. 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.
Originally 43,000 acres, it is now reduced to approximately 30,000 acres, 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.
In 2005, it gained the former Muscatatuck State Hospital grounds, composed of some 3,000 acres with several permanent buildings, including 5-story buildings with underground tunnels, 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.
"Located in South Central Indiana's Jennings County near Butlerville, Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC) is a secluded, self contained community, once home to the Muscatatuck State Developmental Center. The 1,000 acre site was turned over to the Indiana National Guard in July 2005 and since has been continually evolving into a full-immersion contemporary urban training environment.
"Those utilizing MUTC have access to a 180 acre reservoir and urban infrastructure consisting of 68 major buildings including a school, hospital, dormitories, light industrial structures, single family type dwellings, a dining facility and administrative buildings totaling approximately 850,000 square feet of floor space. Additionally the training area includes an extensive underground utility tunnel system and over 9 miles of roads and streets.
"MUTC is a consortium of governmental, public and private entities that are pooling their unique capabilities in order to provide the most realistic training experience possible. Training that can be tailored to replicate both foreign and domestic scenarios and that can be utilized by various civilian and military organizations."
The Civil Air Patrol's National Emergency Services Academy (NESA) is held at Camp Atterbury each summer