News: Muscatatuck open house gives locals view of premier Army training site
Story by Sgt. John Crosby
BUTLERVILLE, Ind. — Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, the Army's premier urban warfare training site in Butlerville, Ind., held its first open house Saturday to familiarize the locals in the surrounding areas to the post and its operations.
Loud noises, explosions and frequent helicopter traffic are all common to the citizens of the communities surrounding MUTC as a result of new construction, training and daily operations. Peaking interest and inquiries as to how the Army is using the former Muscatatuck State Developmental Center has led officials to the idea for the open house.
"We want to bring the public in and show them what it is we do on a day-to-day basis," said MUTC commander Lt. Col. Chris Kelsey in a previous interview. "We want the people of the local area to see what we have built and why we have built it... get a feel for why we're here."
More than 800 people came out for the event and participated in the walking and driving tours, a petting zoo, paintball target practice, weapons and vehicle displays, face painting and more. Free hot dogs and soft drinks were also available.
The large turnout included curious enthusiasts, concerned citizens and military families and friends.
"It's interesting to see our tax dollars at work," said North Vernon resident Alan Morrison. "It looks like a world-class facility to me. The density of the buildings is something that is hard to find in other shanty towns in other training camps, so it looks like you have enough buildings and infrastructure here to provide that next level of realism that is difficult to fabricate."
Even former employees of the old Muscatatuck State Developmental Center came to see the changes and new additions to the facilities.
"I've worked at Muscatatuck here for 40 years," said Mamie Erickson. "It's great that this facility is now offering this for our U.S. servicemen. The program is still beginning but you can see a big difference. I think this program will get better and better overtime. It's just awe inspiring."
Kelsey said he plans to hold more open house events in the future as more construction, modifications and additions are made to MUTC.
"It's a partnership, said Kelsey. "We can't exist unless we co-exist with the local community. We're trying to exist in harmony. There have been some complaints about the noise and the aircraft so we wanted to open it up and show what we do; give them an understanding of what we do and that it's safe."