COLUMBUS, IND. — Commanding Camp Atterbury has been on Col. Richard Shatto’s wish list throughout his career as a field and senior officer in the Indiana National Guard.
Now, his dream has come true.
Shatto, a Columbus resident, will take over command of the military installation near Edinburgh in mid-December, succeeding Col. Ivan Denton, who will receive a promotion to brigadier general. Denton will take over as joint director of personnel for the National Guard Bureau in Washington.
“It’s my coming home. I started my military career at Camp Atterbury,” Shatto told The Republic (http://bit.ly/1eDuRsU ).
Shatto, 53, began his full-time career in the National Guard as a supply officer at Camp Atterbury. Currently he is the Indiana National Guard’s director of logistics, working at Stout Field in Indianapolis and is responsible for supporting soldiers statewide with the clothing, food, ammunition, fuel and other supplies they need.
He will have an important role as Camp Atterbury’s commander, continuing to transition Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville from training and preparing thousands of soldiers for combat assignments each year into training facilities for homeland security and new programs such as cyberdefense and drone testing.
Camp Atterbury mobilized its final soldiers this year, ending more than 10 years of this type of training. Since 2001, about 150,000 soldiers and 50,000 civilian workers have passed through Camp Atterbury for mission training. During that time, about $500 million in federal money was spent to transform the camp into a modern training facility.
Camp Atterbury started $75 million in construction last year to add barracks, a dining hall and new railroad access.
MUTC is a non-contiguous training site of Atterbury in Jennings County.
“It’s a great opportunity because when we have completed our move from mobilization, we can broaden our capabilities and resources to make it a world-class support platform,” Shatto said.
Shatto learned of his new job Monday afternoon.
Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard, summoned Shatto to his office. Shatto thought the meeting could have been to discuss any number of things related to his logistics role.
“I got a big smile on my face and I shook his hand and said I wouldn’t let him down,” Shatto said. “You want to stand up and dance a little, but I didn’t think that would be appropriate in front of the adjutant general.”
Umbarger said Shatto’s experience in the engineering corps, service in Iraq and work as director of logistics all made him the right fit to take over the training facility.
“He was equally surprised and happy to serve. He had a lifelong career dream to be commander of Camp Atterbury. I think it’s a win-win for Indiana,” Umbarger said.
A change of command ceremony Dec. 17 at Camp Atterbury will formalize the leadership transition.
While most people know Shatto at Camp Atterbury, he said he will have meeting with staff and employees there after Thanksgiving.