EXPLAINER: Why Dutch soldiers were at Indiana military camp

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Before three Dutch soldiers were shot, one fatally, in downtown Indianapolis, they trained in a military camp in southern Indiana where international soldiers enter highly specialized urban combat simulations that they might not have in their own country. can get.

Simmie Poetsema, 26, was identified Monday as the soldier who died of his wounds Saturday in the shooting outside a Hampton Inn where the men were staying. The two other soldiers have injuries that officials say are not expected to be life-threatening.

Police arrested an Indianapolis man on Tuesday in connection with the shooting, but has not released additional information about the circumstances of the shooting.

For the shooting, which the mayor of Indianapolis says came after a scuffle at a local barthe men’s shop was about an hour to the southeast – at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.

WHY TRAINS IN INDIANA?

Foreign soldiers often go to military facilities in the United States that mimic the “unpredictable realism” of battlefield situations in an environment that a soldier would encounter.

In Muscatatuck, where the three members of the Dutch Commando Corps involved in the shooting were training, “everything in the city and the surrounding area, including the people, is ‘in play,'” the website says.

It is a 405-acre complex that excels hyper-focused training in land, air, water, technology and space.

The number of international soldiers training at the camp varies each year, Indiana National Guard spokesman Jeff Lowry said in a statement. The individual training of soldiers depends on the needs of the units, and in this case the Dutch Ministry of Defense gave that direction, Lowry said.

“The training they will do will revolve around urban operations, including a variety of training events from search and rescue to dodge and capture,” Lowry said.

Mark Cancian, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a retired Marine colonel, said Muscatatuck is “essentially a small town” for combat training. U.S. allies with troops from countries that do not have such facilities can learn in an environment similar to that in which they could fight, he said.

“Europeans have that sort of thing,” he said, but American facilities are “more extensive, partly because we have more money, and probably because we have more space and bigger troops.”

WHAT IS EXACTLY AT MUSCATATUCK?

The Muscatatuck complex had been a state-run center for people with developmental disabilities since the 1920s, housing more than 2,000 residents at one point before it was closed by the state. The Indiana National Guard then took over the site in 2005.

Military officials saw the campus of more than 60 buildings, nine miles of roads and more than a mile of tunnels — in a rural setting isolated from nearby communities — as an ideal place to mimic an urban area for military training, including chemical or biological attacks .

“Our primary intent is to simulate real-world, urban scenarios through real and virtual training for first responders involved in counter-terrorism operations,” said then Indiana Guard Adjutant General Martin Umbarger, announcing the creation. of the Muscatatuck Center in 2004.

The Indiana National Guard said in a statement that the center is being used for training by the Department of Defense “as well as by other allies.”

Those materials describe a training environment that mimics a city — with a five-story hospital, an oil refinery, a coal-fired steam power plant, and many other features — as well as bits of infrastructure that can be found in a war zone, such as crashed planes, searchable “debris buildings,” a collapsed parking garage and a collapsed rail trestle.

WHY WERE THE SOLDIERS AWAY FROM THE BASE?

The Muscatatuck Center is part of a larger installation called Atterbury-Muscatatuck that covers 36,000 acres, including some lodging options, where troops typically stay for seven to 14 days, Lowry said. It is not clear whether the Dutch soldiers stayed at the installation during their training. ____

Associated Press writer Tom Davies in Indianapolis contributed to this report. Arleigh Rodgers is a member of the Corps for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a national, not-for-profit service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on classified issues. Follow her on Twitter on


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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