Header Image- Veteran's Memorial Wall at Camp Atterbury
 

Camp Atterbury History

From the 1970s through the 1990s, the primary mission of Camp Atterbury was to support to the Indiana National Guard and its various missions, including providing support with conflicts in Vietnam, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm.

With a new mission for a new century, and under the tutelage of the Indiana National Guard, Camp Atterbury has found new life as a premiere training and mobilization site in support of  U.S. military efforts around the globe. Today, Camp Atterbury continues the mission started in 1942 of preparing America’s troops for service and in this, embodies the installation motto: Preparamus (we are ready).

The Atterbury Rock

Camp Atterbury rockThe history of Camp Atterbury’s famous rock, which sits at the east entrance to the post, goes back to World War II, when the site was used as one of the nation’s prisoner-of-war camps. In 1943, around 3,000 Italian prisoners of war were held at the post. As reported by The Indianapolis Star on March 1, 2017, a reporter who visited Camp Atterbury during that time described the prisoners as “well-fed, clean, content and probably wouldn't try to escape if they got the chance.” These prisoners, of Roman Catholic faith, constructed their own chapel, and one of them, Libero Puccini, carved the famous rock. During the rock’s unveiling ceremony, it is reported that many of the American officials in attendance were surprised to see the Italian dagger—known since the 15th century as a stiletto, a secondary weapon of knights—had been carved into the stone. After the war, Puccini returned to the United States and became a citizen. He began attending reunions at the post after he was contacted for a 1992 rededication of the Chapel in the Meadow. Puccini died in 2008. He said in an interview:

“Everything now is a memory of a momentous past, and I have been quoted as saying that former enemies can become friends. My reality of that concept is my proud citizenship and marriage to a lovely American lady whom I met as a POW. Having resided in the United States for nearly fifty years; I am the proud father of three grown children and six wonderful grandchildren. Coincidentally, one of my sons now serves as a career officer in the United States Armed Services.”

http://indianamilitary.org/CA%20POWs/POW-ITALIAN/ItalianInfo/Rock%20Carver.htm

About Muscatatuck

In  2001, Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon and his successor, Governor Mitch Daniels, relinquished control of the facility to the Indiana Army National Guard (INARNG). Daniels would go on to close it in 2005. However, many buildings at Muscatatuck State Hospital were over 50 years old, and the Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory had already identified the historic and architectural significance of 34 buildings at the facility that contributed to the Muscatatuck State Hospital Historic District (MSHHD). Thus, any actions taken by the INARNG would have to comply with state and federal laws regarding historic structures.

Dedication of the Italian Prisoner of War Chapel