Muscatatuck activity to heat up soon

Jennings County residents should expect to see an increase in military land and air activity at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, according to officials at the Camp Atterbury-Muscatatuck Joint Training Complex.

MUTC, located near Butlerville, is designed to provide training for members of the military, foreign service civilians, civilian first responders and police departments during times of crisis.

The facility’s 1,000 acres used to be home to a state hospital, but they now provide more than 100 standing buildings that can simulate an urban area that has been affected by a disaster.

With the temperature increasing, so will activity. Groups that will train at MUTC include:

The Civilian Expeditionary Workforce every month.

The Indiana State Police and other law enforcement agencies.

Canadian Military units in April.

Air Force ROTC cadets from Indiana University, Butler and the University of Illinois in April and May.

The United Front in June.

Cyber and combat exercises will be conducted throughout the summer, Atterbury-Muscatatuck spokesperson Capt. Jessica Cates said.

“There will be a steady stream of National Guard units on the weekends and for longer periods in the summer. I think the people in Jennings County will notice that there will be plenty going on at Muscatatuck. Every week we have at least two visitors from other states or countries coming to look at Muscatatuck. There simply is no other place like it,” Cates said.

Muscatatuck has remained active this winter with Army special forces units and Navy SEALS using the facility.

“The Army special forces groups tend to stay longer while the SEALS come and go quickly, but they have both been in and out all winter and they will be busy here the rest of the year. Muscatatuck offers some ideal training sites for special forces units that can’t be easily found elsewhere,” Cates said.

The Indiana National Guard assumed control of Muscatatuck in 2005. MUTC is part of a two-site military training complex operated by the Indiana National Guard. The second site is Camp Atterbury, located 45 miles north near Edinburgh. Together they are called the Atterbury-Muscatatuck Joint Training Complex.

In addition to the buildings and tunnels that were a part of the former hospital site, the National Guard has built structures that replicate buildings destroyed by bombs, flooded buildings, subway and railroad disaster sites and athletics arenas under attack.

At the edge of the urban settings there is a newly constructed mosque, a rural Middle Eastern village, an urban Middle Eastern setting and an actual farm — all designed to train both soldiers and civilians headed for the Middle Eastern countries.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down and the military has downsized, Camp Atterbury’s role has changed from a mobilization to training. As before 9/11, Camp Atterbury will train active and reserve members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.

Cates said some people mistakenly think that Atterbury and Muscatatuck are no longer busy because of changes in military policy. That’s not accurate, she said.

“We are the same now — it’s the Atterbury-Muscatatuck Training complex. We will be very busy,” Cates said.