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NEWS | Aug. 24, 2016

Muscatatuck chosen to host first live public affairs exercise

By Capt. Megan McFarling 205th Press Camp Headquarters

Courtesy Story
205th Press Camp Headquarters

Tucked away in the farmlands of southern Indiana is the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center. The Indiana National Guard ran urban training installation hosts a full array of training scenarios and is open to civilian and military personnel. Through the urban destruction sits a small radio station that recently housed the first annual large scale Army Reserve public affairs exercise called Exercise News Day.

Before the Indiana National Guard received the location in July 2005, the sprawling 1,000 acre oasis was home to over 8,000 mental patients as the former Muscatatuck State Developmental Center. Built in 1919, it contained 19 buildings devoted to the health, welfare and happiness of the mentally disabled. When the military bought the instillation in 2005, they kept the original structures and added even more. Currently there are 127 structures to better accommodate versatility that is needed in today's training operations. Some recent additions include a flooded village, dilapidated favela, rundown motel, eerie theatre, and a ramshackle parking garage.

The need for media coverage developed to cover all the personnel coming from around the world to train. In 2011, Muscatatuck stood up a small radio station and museum ran by Master Sgt. Brad Staggs, a senior public affairs broadcaster.

Muscatatuck was recently chosen to become the main training location for Exercise News Day due to the vivid history, nonstop incoming units training, a radio station, and central location. The exercise ran May to August 2016 and is set to take place at Muscatatuck again next year. Exercise News Day is the largest public affairs exercise to date which U.S. Army Reserve public affairs units from across the nation to go out and cover the U.S. Army Reserve story.

Lt. Col. Monica Womack, from the United States Army Reserve Command out of Fort Bragg, N.C., states, “We considered six different instillations. We used a scoring system to see what best fit our needs for END.” After narrowing it down, it was clear Mascatatuck was the winner. “It is close to the center of the U.S. as we could get,” added Womack.

Muscatatuck has constantly been in use for nearly 100 years. With the recent focus to help better train our civilian/military response operations, the installation growth and progress is not slowing down any time soon, and the U.S. Army public affairs will be here to capture it.