Military

Army recruits arriving at Fort Benning for basic training
Raymond McCrea Jones

What makes someone want to become a soldier? What does it look like to transition from a civilian to a soldier? How does it affect individuality?

Raymond McCrea Jones, who used to be on staff at the New York Times, wanted to answer those questions. He embedded himself in a company of 162 Army recruits at Fort Benning in Georgia for 10 weeks. His fly-on-the-wall photos show the experience of basic training, from 4 a.m. wakeup calls to grueling field exercises.

There are signs that transgender people could serve openly in the United States military within the next year.
The U.S. Army / Flickr Creative Commons

The American military permits people to serve regardless of sexual orientation, but there are still policies precluding military service based on gender identity.

About 15,000 transgender people currently serve in the American military in violation of the rules. The United States lags behind many other Western nations that allow transgender people to serve openly, but Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is pushing for change.

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl faces a hearing Thursday to determine whether he’ll be court-martialed on a desertion charge.

Cold Frame

Jul 31, 2015
Image of PT Deutermann, who is a former captain in the Navy and arms control specialist with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Cynthia Brann

P.T. Deutermann spent 26 years in the Navy and working for the government. As a captain in the Navy and an arms control specialist on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Deutermann developed many skills.

When that career ended, he began writing military fiction and has published 18 novels.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Deutermann, a North Carolina resident, about his latest title “Cold Frame” (St. Martin’s Press/2015), a government drama in the age of counterterrorism.

Image of Tommy Sowers
Duke University

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.

vibracore
Dave DeWitt

For a coastal geologist, a vibracore is like a time machine. As a generator vibrates a long aluminum tube, Professor Antonio Rodriguez and his two graduate students force it deep into the Onslow Beach sand.

When they pull it up a few minutes later, it reveals several thousand years of history.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) talks with WUNC's Frank Stasio
Andrew Tie / WUNC

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) quickly ascended from a seat on the parks and recreation commission in Cornelius, N.C., to speaker of the North Carolina House in 2011, and finally U.S. Senator.

In his first five months, Tillis has taken a particular interest in the military with seats in the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Tillis about national security, deregulation, immigration and other issues in Washington.

National Security

At Georgia's Fort Benning, female soldiers are fighting a two-month battle. Their enemies? Hunger, fatigue, even hallucination. They're fighting their way through the Army's notoriously hard Ranger School, trying to make history by becoming the first women to graduate from it.

It's one of several Pentagon experiments to see how best to move women into ground combat roles. And it's a test that thousands of men before them have failed.

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."

Caring for the nation's veterans at the end of their lives can be a complex task. Service members — especially combat veterans — can struggle with guilt, abandonment and regret.

A field of flags outside the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC.
Gerry Dincher / Flickr/Creative Commons

It's Memorial Day: A holiday when many residents gather to remember those who died while serving in the US Military.

Communities across the state have their own way to honor the fallen.

Thomasville

Joe Leonard organizes the annual parade in Thomasville. He says they take the event one step further.

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