Camp Atterbury is the training base for the Indiana National Guard. Located near Edinburgh, Indiana, it was built originally just before the US entered World War II in 1941. The construction actually began right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was also built big enough to support multiple buildings and an entire army infantry division. Today, the base is incredibly connected to its community and used for military and government operations as well as civilian deployment training and pre-operational testing.
Originally the area surrounding Ediburgh was dedicated mostly to family farms. As such Camp Atterbury was built on farm land in 1941. The camp was actually named for a native to Indiana and president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. His name was Brigadier General William Wallace Atterbury, who was a World War veteran and served on staff under General John G. Pershing in World War I.
The fertile farm lands once home in this area became a mobilized army base camp in just six months. The camp took up areas in three counties including Bartholomew, Johnson and Brown. Troops who came to Camp Atterbury were trained for combat in World War II. Divisions from all over the country would arrive at Camp Atterbury. Some of the divisions included specialties like artillery and engineering. They came for basic and advanced training that would eventually send them to the battlefields over seas.
Camp Atterbury also had the largest hospital in the 1940s known as the Wakeman General and Convalescent Hospital that was two stories and spanned 47 buildings. At one point, the hospital treated over 85,000 patients. The hospital was well known for plastic eye replacements, and it was also home to the US 39th Evacuation Hospital and the 101st Infantry Battalion.
Four US Army infantry divisions were located here including the 30th, 83rd, 92nd and 106th. The last to leave was the 106th, which left on October 9th, 1944 entering the front lines just two months later. It was reported that they suffered 7,000 total combat-related casualties.
Later the camp would hold prisoners of war from Germany and Italy. A small Roman Catholic chapel was built by the Italian prisoners, which was restored in 1989.
There were periods of time when the base was not in use. It stopped operations between 1946 and 1950 as well as 1954 to 1969. However, it has been in operation consistently ever since 1969 as a National Guard training center. The base played an important role in training and military operations following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Towers. The Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center became active in February 2003 and thousands of new recruits were trained here for the Iraq War.
Both National Guard and US Army Reserve recruits receive training at Camp Atterbury. There are also active duty and special training events at the camp as well for other branches.
Some of Camp Atterbury’s facilities were damaged in 2008 from a tornado. Overall, 50 buildings sustained significant damage. There was also damage to power lines and vehicles, but there were no injuries. Much of the Marines stationed at Camp Atterbury would ship out to help with the June 2008 Midwest flood disaster four days later.
Units and Facilities
Camp Atterbury is home to the Joint Maneuver Training Center, 157th Infantry Brigade, 205th Infantry Brigade and 4th Cavalry Brigade. It contains facilities for the Army National Guard, Army Reserves and Marine Corps. There are live fire ranges for infantry, artillery and tanks. There also an aerial gunnery range for A-10 Thunderbolts.
Originally, Camp Atterbury spanned over 43,000 acres, but the facilities have been reduced to 30,000 acres with the rest overtaken by the Atterbury Job Corps, US Department of Labor, Hoosier Horse Park and Johnson County Parks Department. The compound also expanded in 2005 to include the Muscatatuck State Hospital, which added 3,000 acres to the total facilities.
In total, Camp Atterbury has over 1,800 buildings that house over 45,000 troops and officers.
You can find the Housing and Billeting offices for Camp Atterbury in Building 402 on Clark Street. There are scheduling billets, troop issue facilities and transient quarters for those who are being processed through Camp Atterbury. You can contact the housing office at 812-526-1128 for more information, or you can contact the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center Housing Office located in building 60 that includes housekeeping for soldiers and retired military at 317-247-3300 extension 41790.
Much of the housing on base is hotel style with housekeeping services for service members, governmental agencies and retirees who live at the transient quarters. These rooms cost $28 to $38 and include TV, refrigerator, single and double beds, kitchenettes and air conditioning.
The billeting office supplies the troop issue facilities. These include supply and dining facilities, Bachelor Office Quarters, rooms and unit headquarters, open bay barracks and admin facilities. Housing is assigned based on the mission, availability and date received.
There are four recreational cabins available on Camp Atterbury at Major General Carl G. Farrell Recreation Area that can be used for soldiers, retirees, senior officers and families. You can contact 812-526-1499 extension 1128 if you are looking for a reservation.
If you are looking for off-base housing, most of the military communities are located in nearby Columbus. There are several nearby communities however such as Cuba, Taylorsville, Northcliff, Greenwood, Bloomington and Franklin. Indianapolis is located 40 miles north. A variety of single family homes are available in each of these areas with the cheapest homes being located close to the camp in Ediburgh.
Camp Atterbury has a lot of resources for those who are relocated to the area including guides and community information located on the camp’s site. You can also access the camp’s Facebook. There are also several churches, teen and young ministries, private schools and universities located near the camp including Purdue University, Franklin College, Indiana Wesleyan University and Indiana University at Bloomington.