Fort Bragg

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.

A picture of the Airborne logo.
The US Army Institute of Heraldry / US Army

All American Week gets underway today at Fort Bragg to honor members of the 82nd Airborne Division. 

Events begin this morning with a four-mile division run with 20,000 participants. 

Wednesday is International Day, where military leaders from US allies will be invited to tour the base and attend a ball in the evening. 

Lieutenant Colonel Bob Risdon said the culminating events will be held Thursday when thousands will turn out to see the Division Review.

U.S. Army

Ground was broken this week on a new center at Fort Bragg that will focus on the treatment of traumatic brain injuries. According to the latest estimates from the Defense Department, there have been hundreds of thousands of these cases diagnosed - and perhaps as many that have not yet been diagnosed.

Nine of these new centers are planned for different communities in the United States. They are known as the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) Satellite Centers. 

Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg

The annual Thanksgiving holiday meal and best dining facility competition starts Tuesday at Fort Bragg. Some 20,000 military service members, family and retirees are expected to attend.  Chief Roshaun Anderson is food advisor for the 82nd Sustainment Brigade.  He says the event is like the food service Super Bowl on post.

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

Civilian employees at North Carolina's military bases are back at work after four furlough days from the government shutdown. 

The recall comes after the Department of Defense said this weekend a stop-gap budget law that keeps the military funded during the shutdown includes civilian workers.  Most of the 800 civilian employees who were furloughed from Camp Lejeune are back at work after the DOD reviewed the language in the Pay Our Military Act.

A small group of Fort Bragg soldiers returns home from Afghanistan Monday as the military works to transfer its operations to Afghan forces. 

Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg

Some Fort Bragg soldiers will begin specialized air assault training classes this week.  Fort Bragg soldiers had previously gone to posts outside the state to complete the course.  Soldiers will learn the logistics of moving troops and equipment by helicopter during combat. 

Capt. Matt Smoose is the school's commander.  He says the training includes helicopter transport and what's called 'springload operations'.

US Dept. of Defense

Aspiring defense contractors are in Fayetteville for this year's annual Defense and Economic Development Trade Show.  Companies will be at Fayetteville Technical Community College to network with military and political figures and to see demonstrations of advances in combat equipment.

This year, federal sequestration cuts have brought questions from vendors about the level of military participation.  Scott Dorney is executive director of the North Carolina Military Business Center.  He says business are coming to this year's show looking to partner up.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is greeted by Gen. Dan Allyn, commander U.S. Forces Command, as he visits Fort Bragg
DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel paid a visit to Fort Bragg Monday.  In a town-hall style meeting broadcast live on News-14 Carolina, Hagel faced tough questions from the Ft. Bragg community, which has been hit hard with budget cuts caused by sequestration.

A 2008 photo of Jeffrey Sinclair giving remarks during the transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq.
James Wagner, Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq

Jury selection starts this week in the court martial of Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair at Fort Bragg. Sinclair is accused of sexually assaulting a subordinate officer and faces allegations of forcible sodomy and wrongful sexual conduct, among other charges.  Prosecutors say Sinclair engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with a female captain under his command.

Air Force airmen lay sandbags to protect against a flooding disaster in MO in 2011.
Dept. of Defense

Current and former members of the military want to talk about how climate change could be threatening national security. 

A public meeting in Fayetteville tonight will include discussions about evidence linking climate change to a rising risk of stronger natural disasters.  Spring Lake mayor Chris Rey is one of the speakers at the meeting and a former Army captain.  He says storms that cause widespread damage divert military resources, leaving the impacted areas more vulnerable.

Veteran student, Fort Bragg
Fayetteville Tech Community College

Fayetteville Technical Community College opens a new office on Fort Bragg Wednesday morning. 

Officials from the school and the Army say the new facility will provide on-post admissions, testing, registration and advising services to soldiers and their families.  Bill Buckner, the coordinator for military programs at FTCC, says the school offers about 33 different programs including classes in culinary arts, nursing and criminal justice.

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

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

The Department of Defense says instructors and other nine-month employees can expect mandatory days off after the next school year starts.  Marilee Fitzgerald is the director of the Department of Defense Education Activity, which oversees schools at military bases.

Veteran student, Fort Bragg
Fayetteville Tech Community College

Veterans who want to go back to school will soon have access to academic counseling and career advice through a new program at Fayetteville Technical Community College.  The school has purchased a building on Fort Bragg Road to serve as a veterans center on campus.  President Larry Keen says veterans will be given special assessments and mentoring to help them graduate, get work, or start a new business.

Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg has held its annual 4th of July celebration for more than three decades. The event that Parade Magazine placed on its 2011 'bucket list' of essential American experiences has been canceled.  Post officials say sequestration cuts that took effect last month forced the move.  Spokesman Tom McCollum says the celebration has been a popular tradition.

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

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) alleges that at least 300 goats are killed and maimed at Fort Bragg each month for medical training.  Now activists are applauding signs the army may be starting to the change the way soldiers are trained for trauma response. According to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress has required the military to lay out a timeline to phase out the use of animals for training purposes.

A sergeant accused of hazing a private who then committed suicide goes on trial today at Fort Bragg. Sergeant Adam Holcomb of Youngstown, Ohio, is one of eight soldiers charged in the death of 19-year-old Private Danny Chen, of New York. Military officials say Chen shot himself last year in Afghanistan after weeks of physical and emotional abuse. He was allegedly targeted because he was Chinese-American.

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan says she'll fight to protect North Carolina's military institutions from recently-announced defense cuts. But Hagan told WUNC the Pentagon's plans include certain funding increases as well.

Kay Hagan: The increase will be in areas of cyber-security, special operations forces, and areas like that. And that's gonna be where the increases in the budget are actually going. And in North Carolina, in Fayetteville at Fort Bragg, USASOC is headquartered there, and that's where all our special operations forces are administered from.

A partnership that works to protect and restore the longleaf pine in North Carolina will plant its 500,000th seedling today. Debbie Crane of the Nature Conservancy says the tree is an iconic state symbol, but it's been in decline for decades.

About 58 hundred soldiers from Fort Bragg will be deployed to Afghanistan this spring. They're headed to the southern part of the country to work with NATO and Afghan troops. Captain Allie Scott says the paratroopers are part of a transition plan to gradually hand over that part of Afghanistan to local authorities.

President Barack Obama made his first trip as commander in chief to Fort Bragg yesterday. He was there to thank all American troops for their service in Iraq.

President Obama spoke in a sunlit airplane hangar before about 3-thousand troops and their families. He told them their service was selfless and historic, and would be remembered.

President Barack Obama: "You served a cause greater than yourselves. You helped forge a just and lasting peace with Iraq and among all nations. I could not be prouder of you. And America could not be prouder of you."

A team of professors at N.C. State is starting a program of language and culture classes for special operations soldiers. The Language Training Center will offer six-week intensive courses to prepare special ops members for deployment overseas. Program director Dwight Stephens says the classes are designed to bridge the gap between soldier and civilian.

A recent study outlines efforts at North Carolina's military bases to help the Department of Defense reduce energy consumption. The report is from the Pew Charitable Trust. It says Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune are using energy reduction projects and bio-fuel to cut costs. Coby Jones is the energy program coordinator at Fort Bragg. He says recent renovations have cut energy consumption by 23 percent at 30 of the base's older buildings.

43 soldiers at Fort Bragg suffered heat-related injuries this morning during a 12-mile march. That's according to spokeswoman Jackie Thomas. Thomas says 25 of them were treated on the spot. 18 of them were transported to Womack Medical Center, where 13 of them were admitted, and one of them was placed in Intensive Care Unit.

Jackie Thomas: "I wouldn't attribute that to them being pushed too far. You know, you have to understand, it's a pretty grueling series of things that they've been going through in this competition. "

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