The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, September 01, 2021 1:00 am

Camp Atterbury to house Afghans

To assist nearly 5,000 waiting for permanent homes

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Camp Atterbury in south-central Indiana will temporarily house Afghan evacuees, state and federal officials said Tuesday.

“As Hoosiers, we are proud to do our part and provide a temporary home for Afghan evacuees who have supported this nation,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said. “Our federal partners are taking necessary and appropriate steps to establish that there is a smooth process to allow these men, women and children to quickly find their permanent home across the United States. I have faith in the Indiana National Guard's ability to support this federal mission.”

Congressman Greg Pence said Tuesday morning on Twitter that over the coming week, capacity at Camp Atterbury will build to support about 5,000 people. The U.S. Northern Command estimates the camp will reach initial operational capability in the next few days.

“I will continue to monitor this situation closely along with members of our IN Congressional Delegation, and state & federal agencies,” Pence said.

Camp Atterbury is a military and civilian training post.

The Department of Defense agreed to provide the Department of State transportation and temporary housing, sustainment and support inside the United States for Afghan special immigrant visa applicants, their families and other at-risk individuals at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible.

Camp Atterbury joins Fort Pickett, Marine Corps Base Quantico and Fort Lee in Virginia; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort McCoy, Wisconsin; Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico; and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey to provide temporary housing and support for up to 50,000 Afghans.

According to a news release, Task Force Atterbury, consisting of active-duty and National Guard service members, will support the federal mission and provide housing, medical, logistics and transportation when the Afghans arrive, which has yet to be determined.

“Our Hoosier Guardsmen are honored to join our fellow Americans to help, assist and host Afghans who played an integral part and helped us for nearly 20 years,” said Brig. Gen. Dale Lyles, Indiana National Guard adjutant general.

“We also look forward to working alongside our active-duty counterparts, and members of national, state, and local agencies as we support the Department of Homeland Security mission.”

U.S. Northern Command is the Pentagon's lead combatant command for this mission in the continental U.S. and will provide oversight in support of the State Department and Department of Homeland Security.

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