News: Atterbury hands over the Fokker to Homeland Security
By Staff Sgt. Matt Scotten
CAMP ATTERBURY JOINT MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER – After four years of planning and coordination, Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center has recently turned over a Fokker F27 to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to use for training.
The airplane, which was originally donated from FedEx to Purdue University, was donated from Purdue to Camp Atterbury in early 2007. After years of planning and coordination between Camp Atterbury and IDHS, the base has finished moving it to the IDHS facility on post.
“There was a lot of work involved in getting this plane moved,” said Staff Sgt. Noah L. Long, an Indianapolis native and Aviation Fuel Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge at the post airfield here. According to Long, one of the most difficult parts of the job was removing the wings from the aircraft. “None of us really knew how to do that.”
After moving the plane from the pad where it had been parked for almost four years to a helicopter repair pad on the other side of the airfield, soldiers began the “trial by fire” process of removing the wings. After a few weeks of weather delays, the wings were removed. Next, soldiers began the delicate task of maneuvering the wingless plane down the road to the IDHS training compound while avoiding tall brush and several trees. Even with the wings removed from the plane, it was an arduous undertaking.
Now that the Fokker rests on the IDHS compound, Homeland Security staff like Lillian Hardy, the IDHS search and rescue training program manager here, are excited to train with the airplane.
“We have been using the airplane for a while,” said Hardy, “but now that we have it here on our training compound, it opens up new possibilities for training scenarios.”
IDHS currently plans to use the plane for mass-fatality training, search and rescue training, and disaster training.
“This isn’t just for homeland security personnel, either,” said Hardy. “This plane opens up training possibilities for military, police, fire and volunteer search and rescue teams. Just about anyone with any sort of Homeland Security mission can benefit from this.”
It may have been a long road, but with the combined effort of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Indiana National Guard, the Fokker is now available for all sorts training possibilities for several organizations across the state.
“It’s really nice to finally have it here,” said Hardy. “It’s been a long time coming.”