Hoosiers helps military at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center

INDIANAPOLIS — As far as sights and sounds go, cover the grounds of the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, but rest assured, all of these civilians are in action.

Men and women in uniform train for a five kiloton nuclear explosion.

“It would be, you know, the worst day in America, wouldn’t it? And that’s sort of the theme that we keep coming back to,” Army Col. Joe Junguzza said.

More than 100 residents, like Deanna Carmichael, play the victims of the training exercise.

Carmichael volunteered for this military exercise for three consecutive years. This year, she was cast as an 82-year-old woman and has to act like she’s delusional.


During the training exercise, Deanna Carmichael carried a card explaining what role she would play.

Her family of six joined the exercise with her.

“It’s really exciting, we always come home and have so much to talk about around the dinner table,” Carmichael said.

There’s a lot to be said because they see things that most of us don’t.

Under the direction of the National Guard, Army Reserve, and Active Duty, all volunteers go through the decontamination process.

“Honestly, we appreciate our military a lot more after being involved with it,” Carmichael said.

Servicemen are also invested in training and wear full chemical protection suits in the spring heat.

It beats using only dummies and it forces service members to deal with people’s emotions during a huge explosion.

Drew Trousdell is part of the contract support team for this exercise.

“We have whole families here. We have whole communities here,” Trousdell said.

The volunteers do not hesitate to make the situation realistic.

“It blew my mind; I didn’t understand how personal it was probably for these people,” Trousdell said.

As a team leader at Booz Allen Hamilton, Trousdell coordinates between civilians and military to facilitate training.

He has the experience to organize this training exercise well.

He said he’s been “doing joint drill and drill for about 18 (years) [with] 21 years of military service before that.

Trousdell said this year there was more community participation. They also increased training events for the military by 40%.

Junguzza says service members are excited about the challenge.

“People don’t join the military to do easy things, and that’s clearly not easy,” Junguzza said.

It’s a standard scenario released by the Department of Homeland Security, but it’s a unique opportunity for different military branches to work together.

“You want these units to train as much as they can, so God forbid they can react very quickly and get these people out,” Junguzza said.

The exercise is not meant to scare the community, but it is a team effort that brings Hoosiers together to help prepare our military to protect us all.

Organizers tell WRTV that this training took about a year to prepare; they started preparing for it last July. The Guardian Response exercise also brings more than 2,000 participants to the Butlerville, Indiana facility at one time, creating a source of revenue for the community.

While we were at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, WRTV also got to see the other training spaces for our military men and women.

They have everything from a real section of an old subway train to facilities for a flood rescue or a crashed car park scenario.

The base has even been used for several documentaries and movies, but more important is helping our military learn and practice the skills they need to protect our country.

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