FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – For the second year in a row and fifth time in the past seven years, Fort Indiantown Gap was the busiest National Guard training center in the country.
During the 2021 fiscal year ended Sept. 30, FTIG hosted 113,075 personnel for 727,878 “man-days” of training. Man-days are a computation of the number of personnel multiplied by the number of days they trained on post.
FTIG was also the busiest training center in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020.
Col. Lane Marshall, Fort Indiantown Gap’s garrison commander, said it shouldn’t come as any surprise that FTIG was once again the busiest National Guard training center in the country.
“In addition to the numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities we offer, our customer service is second to none,” Marshall said. “And that is a direct result of the men and women that make up our team. Each one works tirelessly to ensure that our customers have the resources and support they need to meet their training objectives.”
Camp Shelby, Mississippi, was the next closest training center in 2021, with 618,643 man-days. Fort Pickett, Virginia, was third with 430,915 man-days, and Camp Atterbury, Indiana, was fourth with 410,086 man-days.
FTIG covers over 17,000 acres in northern Lebanon and Dauphin counties. It is home to numerous ranges, training facilities and simulators and regularly hosts personnel from all branches of the military, both active-duty and reserve component, as well as foreign militaries, first responders, law enforcement and state and federal agencies.
It is also home to several schools, including the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site, the 166th Regiment Regional Training Institute, the Regional Equipment Operators Training Site, the Lightning Force Academy and the Northeast Counter Drug Training Center.
Lt. Col. Andrew O’Connor, FTIG’s director of plans, operations, training and security, said the installation’s location and its ability to host Warfighter exercises also play a role in its popularity for training.
“There’s a lot of reserve-component units in the Northeast, and that helps,” he said. “The New York National Guard is pretty big, the Virginia National Guard is pretty big, and there are a lot of Army Reserve units around.”
FTIG began hosting Warfighter exercises in 2016 and usually hosts one a year, O’Connor said. FTIG and Camp Atterbury are the only two National Guard training centers that host Warfighters.
“In those years that we host a Warfighter, we’ll get around 3,000 Soldiers for maybe 20 days,” O’Connor said. “That’s a pretty good number.”
FTIG is the only Level II National Guard training center in the Northeast United States, meaning it has billeting for a brigade, maneuver acreage for a company-plus, individual and crew-served weapons ranges, and squad and team collective ranges.
Additionally, a new 63,000-square-foot Training Support Center opened at FTIG in 2021, consolidating operations previously located in six World War II-era buildings into one state-of-the-art facility.
O’Connor said other training centers have similar ranges and facilities, and some have more. What sets FTIG apart is its customer service and location, he said.
“A lot of people come here and they don’t know much about us and then they say, ‘You guys are great. I never knew this place existed,’” he said. “Units come here, like what they find, and they want to come back.”