Tommy Sowers served two tours in Iraq as a green beret. The Duke graduate earned a Ph.D. at the London School of Economics, and he taught at West Point and at Duke.
Sowers ran as the Democratic Party's nominee for Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in 2010 and later became an assistant secretary for the Veterans Affairs. He worked to help veterans gain access to benefits.
The U.S. Army announced Thursday it is cutting about 40,000 soldiers nationwide. Fort Bragg is home to more than 50,000 troops in Fayetteville. The base will largely be spared deep cuts in the latest round of military downsizing.
Some combat veterans are posting signs in their yards, asking neighbors to be courteous with their fireworks this July Fourth weekend. The signs come from a non-profit called Military with PTSD, and it's sending them to vets across the country.
Christine Weber is a former Marine with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who lives in Charlotte. She says sudden loud noises, including fireworks, remind her of gunfire and rocket launchers during her deployment in Iraq.
Fifteen military veterans are wrapping up a week-long academic training bootcamp at UNC-Chapel Hill designed to help them transition easier into college. It's part of a national program called the Warrior-Scholar Project.
Lara Taylor, director of Carolina's orientation, says some vets come straight from service, while others have been out for a few years.
The discipline of military service, as it does for many young men, changed John Blackjack’s life.
"He was a wild child with us," said Roseanne Wray, whose family adopted and raised Staff Sgt. Blackjack. "The Army did something wonderful for him. They turned him into a soldier."
Blackjack, who died May 31 of a respiratory illness, was a miniature mule. Since 1983, he had served as the mascot for a major supply unit, the 1st Theater Sustainment Command. An estimated 25,000 soldiers had contact with him while serving at Ft. Bragg since the Wrays donated him to the Army.
Most people expect their eternal rest will be peaceful.
But not the ones who want to be buried in the Eastern Carolina State Veterans Cemetery now under construction in Goldsboro.
North Carolina’s newest veterans cemetery is right under the flight path of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. On some days, the roar of low-flying fighter jets and aerial tankers overwhelms the cemetery every few minutes.
A massive data breach at the federal Office of Personnel Management has exposed the Social Security numbers and personnel records of nearly every federal worker. The implications for federal employees, military service members and the intelligence community could be extraordinary.
But at a very basic level U.S. service members have been at high risk for identity theft for decades.
Combat veterans often struggle at the end of life with feelings of guilt, abandonment and regret. For some dying service members and their families, a military hospital is a place where they can make those last days meaningful.
Almost 1,000 British paratroopers are now packing up at Fort Bragg after nearly two months of training with their U.S. counterparts in the 82nd Airborne Division.
Multinational coalitions are a hallmark of modern conflict, in part because they give political legitimacy to military actions and spread the costs in both money and lives. But shrinking military budgets in both countries have made the ability to join forces more important.
A $15 billion federal program intended to improve veterans' health care is off to a rocky start, and some members of Congress are calling for significant reforms.
The Veterans Choice program is supposed to help vets get timely health care, sometimes closer to home. Nearly 9 million veterans received identification cards in the mail from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. About 460,000 have tried since it began in November.
A memorial to the first African Americans in the U.S. Marine Corps is going up in Lejeune Memorial Gardens in Jacksonville, NC. More than 20,000 black recruits trained at Montford Point between 1942 and 1949.
"Integration was an experiment that was tried in the military," says Gina Francis.
She's president of the Montford Point Marine Association Camp Lejeune Chapter 10 Ladies Auxiliary.
The U.S. Army anticipates major cuts to brigade combat teams, which sets up the country's largest military base for a big hit. Now, Fort Bragg is considering what recommendations to make when downsizing. And they're opening the process up to public input.
"At the end of the day, our responsibility is to make sure we have trained and prepared soldiers ready to go out the door, regardless of what decisions that might be made higher than here at Fort Bragg," says base spokesman Ben Abel.
The Veterans Treatment Court model is now up and running in North Carolina. Harnett County opened the first one.
It's designed for military veterans who are accused of non-violent crimes. Drug and alcohol counseling, housing assistance, one-on-one mentoring, and other forms of support are also available for veterans accepted into the program.
This weekend hundreds of re-enactors and thousands of spectators are expected to visit Fort Fisher. The Confederate Fort was situated along the Cape Fear River outside of Wilmington. It fell to Union forces 150 years ago this week.
"I think for many people their surprised that North Carolina played such a pivotal role, especially in the last four months of the war." said Historian Michael Hardy. He said the fall of Fisher marks the beginning of the end of the Civil War.
Clemon H. Terrell enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1950 as a steward. He would make the officers' beds and shine their shoes, among other duties. Due to segregation, there were limited opportunities for advancement. This week, 34 years following his retirement from the service, Terrell was promoted to honorary Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer.
"I was ecstatic. Being promoted to Chief Petty Officer is a prestigious promotion," he said, adding that the the Chief Petty Officer has the respect of everyone "from the Admiral on down."
Sharon Smith is taking two months to walk North Carolina's Mountain to the Sea Trail, which is more than 1,000 miles long and crosses the entire state.
Smith served as an Air Force combat medic during the Gulf War - and she is helping to prep the trail for a larger contingent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who will cross the state next year as a part of the Warrior Hike: Walk off the War program.
NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base."
Lance Cpl. Jasmine Abrego is an office clerk who dreams of becoming a warrior.
She's flat on her stomach in the dirt, in full combat gear. Suddenly she pops up, slings a 44-pound metal tripod on her back and lurches forward in a crablike run. Finally, she slams the tripod to the ground. A male Marine slaps a .50-caliber machine gun into place.
Duke University recently acquired two stunning sets of photographs of the Civil War. Now, Duke Performances has commissioned a leading guitarist to set the images to music. The result is an intimate perspective on the cost of war.
This is a story about two new Americans: Webton Webley, a 26-year-old active service member of the U.S. Army, and his wife 23-year-old Sherell Perry-Webley, an U.S. Army reservist.
Sherell's and Webton's lives in the U.S. have been closely intertwined. They went to the same high school in Jamaica, and Sherell eventually got a green card through her mom, who was living in Fort Lauderdale. Webton arrived to Florida on a visa to study at Miami-Dade College. Webton says that's actually the first place they spoke.