Fort Bragg

On Veterans Day, WUNC presents stories recorded during a live storytelling event at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC.  The hour long broadcast is hosted by Eric Hodge. Hear these stories Saturday, November 11 at 2 p.m. on North Carolina Public Radio.

Over the hour you'll hear from active duty soldiers and veterans who share their Ft. Bragg Stories. You can listen to the broadcast online, too:

Ft Bragg Stories A mixed 'chalk' of U.S. and British paratroopers line up to board a C-130 transport plane for the main jump of the joint exercise.
Jay Price / North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC

North Carolina is home to the largest U.S. military installation in the world by population. It employs more than 50,000 military and close to 30,000 civilians and contributes tens of billions of dollars to the state’s economy.

PONCE, PUERTO RICO -  North Carolina National Guard SSG Joe Rodriguez carries donated water and MRE's for Nani Soto in a distribution center in a sports arena in the Southern town of Ponce, the 2nd largest city in Puerto Rico, on October 20, 2017.
Angel Valentin / For WUNC

It has been more than five weeks since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Close to three-quarters of residents on the island are still without power. Many also still do not have access to food or safe drinking water. 

Retired Army Colonel Fred Black came to Fort Bragg as a second lieutenant platoon leader in 1968. He remembers the sense of pride and accomplishment among the men of the 82nd Airborne Division.

An image of a sign for Fort Bragg
Fish Cop / Public Domain

More than 2,000 soldiers are deploying from Fort Bragg to Afghanistan, joining 1,500 soldiers sent there earlier this year.

An image of a sign for Fort Bragg
Fish Cop / Public Domain

Three soldiers remain hospitalized after last week's deadly training accident at Fort Bragg.

An image of a sign for Fort Bragg
Fish Cop / Public Domain

Updated 2:28 p.m., Sept. 15, 2017

A soldier killed in a demolition accident was training to become a Green Beret experienced in handling explosives.

Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division jump from a C-17 aircraft during a July training exercise at Fort Bragg.
Matt Couch / WUNC

The Fort Bragg division is best known for its parachute jumps in World War II. Today, its specialty is rapid deployments - with or without parachutes.

Rashmi Patel is at the wheel of an electric-powered shuttle, one of the Army's two first autonomous vehicles, at Fort Bragg.
Jay Price / WUNC

Rashmi Patel is at the wheel of an electric-powered shuttle, but not for long. The vehicle is one of two shuttles making history at Fort Bragg as one of the Army’s first autonomous vehicles.

An image of an NSCU biology professor holding a St. Francis satyr butterfly
Jay Price

Note: this program is a rebroadcast from August 17, 2016.

For years, the Pentagon has partnered with conservation groups to protect hundreds of endangered and threatened species on military bases across the country.

The partnership started at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in the early 1990s after a rare woodpecker was found and halted training on parts of the base. Since then, the military and conservationists have worked together to manage the bases' rich ecosystems.

Medics in training at Fort Bragg
Sgt. April de Armas/82nd CAB, Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg is now using its own medical evacuation teams to move injured soldiers to major hospitals. 

The Army base used to rely on helicopters from Duke and UNC Hospitals to transport soldiers who were seriously injured during training exercises, but since the troop drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan, more of the 82nd Airborne's Medevac teams are on the base.

a photo of an aedes aegypi mosquito
James Gathany / Flickr Creative Commons

A spokeswoman at Fort Bragg says there have been five travel-related cases of the Zika virus confirmed since June at the North Carolina Army post.

St. Francis' satyr butterly
Jay Price / WUNC

The U.S. military has joined forces with environmental groups to preserve natural habitats. More than 400 threatened and endangered species are benefiting, and so is the Pentagon. 

Performance Psychologist Meghan Halbrook of Fort Bragg’s Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Center shows a soldier how to use an ear sensor to monitor his stress level as he rests between sessions of machine gun training.
Jay Price / WUNC

With biofeedback, breath control, and other mindfulness techniques, an Army unit hopes to help turn its paratroopers into more effective fighters.

MLB's before and after images for the Fort Bragg Game
Major League Baseball / Fort Bragg

A few remaining tickets are available for a Major League Baseball game at Fort Bragg, but only to people holding military IDs.

Most of the tickets for the game between the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins have already been given away to troops and their families.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attracted thousands of supporters to a rally in Fayetteville.
Jay Price / WUNC

Days ahead of North Carolina's primary, Republican front-runner Donald Trump led a boisterous rally in Fayetteville.

MLB's before and after images for the Fort Bragg Game
Major League Baseball / Fort Bragg

Major League Baseball broke ground Wednesday on a ballpark at Fort Bragg. The ballpark will host a televised, official game between the Atlanta Braves and the Florida Marlins on July 3.

Eric Hill heads the Community Recreation Division on Fort Bragg. He says the MLB suggested the game as a way to thank military service members, and says the game is stirring up excitement on base.

Airmen from the 440th Airlift Wing conduct aeromedical evacuation training on a C-130 in this 2014 photo.
Lewis Perkins / Fort Bragg Paraglide

North Carolina’s Congressional delegation is vowing to continue its two-year fight to save Fort Bragg's 440th Airlift Wing.

Sgt. Earl Lendore, a food service specialist in the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, prepares a meal in the Ft. Bragg DFAC.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Freeman/82nd Combat Aviation Brigade PAO

The Army hopes changes in its dining facilities will simultaneously save money, make meals more nutritious, and persuade more soldiers to eat there.

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

People across the state are honoring those who served in the military on this Veterans Day.  There are parades and ceremonies in many communities and other events where veterans get to tell their stories of service. 

Cornell Wilson, Jr. is the Secretary for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for North Carolina.  He says it is always important to thank veterans for their service.

"We have roughly 800,000 veterans in this state, a combination of retirees and those that just got off active duty and they are a very vital part of our community," says Wilson.

An image of a sign for Fort Bragg
Fish Cop / Public Domain

 

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.

Jay Price/WUNC

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.

Jay Price

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.

Black Hawk helicopters land on training ranges during an air-assault, live-fire training exercise on Fort Bragg, N.C.
U.S. Army

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.

Fort Bragg could stand to lose 16,000 jobs.

Ebola Sign
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina boasts many resources when it comes to combating the Ebola Virus outbreak in West Africa. Two pharmaceutical companies are developing potential vaccines. Duke University Hospital has proven its ability to treat potential Ebola patients, while UNC has students helping to track the spread of the disease in Liberia. Soldiers from Fort Bragg have been enlisted in the ground effort.

All these resources are part of not only fighting the virus overseas, but protecting North Carolinians.

As many as 40 percent of the approximately 2 million military children in the United States are under the age of 5.
Breaking Ground / WAMU

  

The United States has been at war for more than a decade and the men and women that protect our country overseas are not the only people making sacrifices. Tens of thousands of children have watched as their parents get deployed into dangerous conflict zones and have been dealing with the reality that they may never come back or that they may return as someone different.

Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg

Family members and officials at Fort Bragg welcomed nearly 300 paratroopers home from Afghanistan yesterday. 

Operations are winding down in that country, and yesterday's event was just one in a series of reunions over the past few weeks. 

Sgt. First Class Joseph Armas is based at Fort Bragg and helped organize the event.  He says yesterday’s ceremony came at the end of an eight month deployment.

Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg will begin rolling out its new Mass Warning and Notification System this month.

Already proven and tested at Pope Air Field after the last few years, the AtHOC technology will connect Fort Bragg service members, the civilian workforce, and their families with immediate emergency and crisis information.

Ben Abel is a public information officer on post. He says the system will be used primarily for situations involving life, health, and safety:

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Fort Bragg is hosting a Transition Summit today and tomorrow to help out-going soldiers find jobs outside the military.

The federal unemployment rate for veterans is about six percent.  That's according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' July numbers.

Teachers at North Carolina's military bases are preparing for up to five furlough days due to cuts from the sequester
Fort Bragg

Jasmine Pollard is an Army reservist. She had just gotten back from a nine-month deployment when she and her now wife decided to marry. The ceremony was in California, a state that allows same-sex marriages.

Her wife also serves. She's a medic stationed at Fort Bragg. So Jasmine, 20, decided to move back East so they could be together. She'd hoped to go to school, taking advantage of a federal law the says military dependents can receive in-state tuition rates.

She ran into problems.

She called Fayetteville State University to ask about the waiver.

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