Wellness center again shows Atterbury valuable resource

Camp Atterbury has had to change its focus in recent years because of the wind down of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military installation near Edinburgh has transitioned from focusing on preparing troops for deployment to hosting training exercises for a wide array of military and law enforcement purposes.

Indiana National Guard leaders have done a good job selling the capabilities and benefits of Camp Atterbury and its sister installation, Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, in Butlerville. The installations host about 15 training operations annually, some of which draw thousands of participants.

Guard leaders seem to have made another good use of Atterbury with an effort to address the physical fitness of the citizen-soldiers.

The Army Wellness Center and Resilience Readiness Campus is scheduled to open Oct. 1 at Camp Atterbury. Several buildings are being renovated and medical equipment is being installed. The center will feature a variety of machines and tests to determine soldiers’ body composition, metabolism, cardiovascular capability and other physical components to get a clear understanding of their fitness level. The information will be shared with fitness specialists and nutritionists to come up with a personalized wellness plan for each soldier.

Such a measure is needed because of a concerning number of Guard members who are not passing their annual physical fitness test. Of the 1,200 National Guard soldiers eligible for re-enlistment this year, more than 300 were failing height/weight or physical fitness and were not allowed to re-enlist, said Maj. Gen. Corey Carr, adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard.

That has another serious implication. Guard members comprise an important reserve component of the all-volunteer U.S. armed forces. Guard members must be prepared for duty whenever called upon — and that includes being physically fit for the demands of the mission.

Camp Atterbury has shown itself to be a great resource for the military, capable of hosting important operations that aid in the readiness of forces. That’s happening again, thanks to Carr and other Indiana National Guard officials, with the opening of the Army Wellness Center and Resilience Readiness Campus.