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Editorial: Local ties sure to aid new leader at Atterbury


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On Dec. 17, Camp Atterbury will get a new leader. That’s when a change of command ceremony is planned to mark the turnover of command from Col. Ivan Denton to Col. Richard Shatto.

But Shatto will face a unique challenge as the military post near Edinburgh transitions to a new role in the post-Afghanistan war military.

Denton is being promoted to brigadier general and will take over as joint director of personnel for the National Guard Bureau in Washington.

For Shatto, his new posting will be something of a homecoming. He began his full-time career in the National Guard as a supply officer at Camp Atterbury. Currently he is the Indiana National Guard’s director of logistics, working at Stout Field in Indianapolis and tasked with supporting soldiers statewide with the clothing, food, ammunition, fuel and other supplies they need.

Shatto, 53, a Columbus resident, will have an important role as Camp Atterbury’s commander, continuing to transition the installation and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville from preparing thousands of soldiers for combat assignments each year into training facilities for homeland security and new programs, such as cyber defense and drone testing.

Camp Atterbury mobilized its final soldiers this year, ending more than 10 years of that type of training. Since 2001, about 150,000 soldiers and 50,000 civilian workers have passed through for mission training. During that time, about $500 million in federal funding was spent to transform the installation into a modern training facility. Camp Atterbury started $75 million in construction last year to add barracks, a dining hall and new railroad access.

“It’s a great opportunity because when we have completed our move from mobilization, we can broaden our capabilities and resources to make it a world-class support platform,” Shatto said.

Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard, said Shatto’s experience in the engineering corps, service in Iraq and work as director of logistics all made him the right fit to take over command of the training facility.

“He had a lifelong career dream to be commander of Camp Atterbury. I think it’s a win-win for Indiana,” Umbarger said.

In the wake of the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan, the mission of Camp Atterbury will continue to change.

The post’s new commander will face unique challenges, but his longtime association with the camp will allow him to more effectively market the facilities to today’s military.

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