Military

The Marine Corps says Camp Lejeune, N.C. needs $3.6 billion in repairs, as scientists warn climate change will lead to more big storms and affect military readiness.

Thousands of troops who were deployed to the border in the fall have left, but the Trump Administration may call for a second deployment of thousands more.

A Soldier from the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment clears a building in Afghanistan in this 2010 file photo. A unit from the Regiment will reunite in 2019 for mental health treatment.
Christine Jones / U.S. Army

The VA and a Charlotte-based non-profit have teamed up to try a new approach to mental health treatment for veterans. They're reuniting entire units for therapy in a pilot program called Operation Resiliency.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'Time To Bow Out'

Dec 28, 2018
Zach Stamey / Focus Media

This year, after more than a decade of service as a linguist and a paratrooper, Jay Huwieler made the decision to leave the military.  

“It was a combination of feeling like I’d served my purpose, and at the same time feeling like there had been too many times when I was too far away from my wife,” he said.
 

Huwieler recalled his sergeant major telling him: “One day you’re not going to be in the Army. When it’s over, there needs to be a family there because you didn’t leave them behind.”

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'More Happiness In My Life'

Dec 23, 2018
Jeremy Moore

Jeremy Moore was on a night patrol in Afghanistan in 2012 when he fell nearly 60 feet down an open well. He suffered serious injuries to his legs, spine, and head. He returned to Fort Bragg, determined to stay in the Army and keep working, even while he recovered from trauma that made routine activities difficult.

A cooking program in upstate New York helps veterans find camaraderie in the kitchen.

Veterans are about twice as likely as non-veterans to die by suicide. But the majority of those suicides are among veterans aged 55 or older -- whose military service was decades earlier.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'What We Were Called To Do'

Dec 16, 2018
Bobbyand Alexia Fields pose for a photo under a tree.
Elizabeth Friend

Military service is the thread that weaves Bobby and Alexia Fields’ family life together. He’s on active duty at Fort Bragg, she serves in the Army Reserve. Together, they balance the demands of the Army with the responsibility of raising three young children.

For thousands of elderly veterans, long term care means living in a nursing home or institutional care setting. But some have found a much homier option.

A VA cemetery crew lifts one of the steel caskets from the ground, more than six decades after it was buried.
Jay Price / WUNC

Using DNA and other new technology, scientists hope to identify the remains of more than 600 U.S. service members in a Hawaii veterans cemetery.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'A Turning Point In My Life'

Dec 9, 2018
Portrait of Victoria Landes
Elizabeth Friend / WUNC

From 1942 until 1978, women who wanted to join the Army served in the Women’s Army Corps. Former Specialist Victoria Landes spent six years as a WAC during the 1960s, training to be a dental assistant at Fort Bragg.  

“When I graduated at 18, I really didn’t have any significant plans,” said Landes. “Going to college really wasn’t going to be an option.”

At "recreational therapy" camps, outdoor activities and mindfulness help veterans with PTSD, sexual trauma, and other issues.

Jay Price / WUNC

The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are digging up hundreds of soldiers from the Korean War as part of a massive identification project. The disinterment operation is taking place at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu and is based on recent advances in DNA and forensic technology. 650 Korean War dead will be exhumed. 

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'The War Was Wrong'

Dec 2, 2018
Portrait of Hal Noyes
Hal Noyes

As a young man in the late 1960s, Hal Noyes faced the prospect of being drafted to fight in Vietnam.  He was opposed to the war, but decided to enlist, hoping to avoid combat.   

Fort Bragg Combat Advisor patch
Jay Price / WUNC

Fort Bragg activated two new units Thursday that are made up of a new kind of culturally-aware soldiers who will be doing an old job: advising the forces of U.S. allies.

An effort to prevent scurvy in U.S. troops led to the growth of the orange juice industry, popularizing what had been a relatively obscure beverage.

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

The Pentagon has released the names of three U.S. servicemen killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

They are Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, age 29, of Lexington, Virginia; Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, age 39, of Brush Prairie, Washington; and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, age 25, of Hookstown, Pennsylvania.

Courtesy of Carolina Demography

North Carolina is home to two of the world’s largest military bases — the Army’s Fort Bragg and the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune — but the state’s population of veterans is steadily declining.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: From Agriculture To Airborne

Nov 25, 2018
Sgt. Michelle Blesam / U.S. Army

Growing up on his family’s farm in southern Alabama, Private First Class Tyler Dunn thought his future lay in agriculture.

“Our family farm, we’ve got roughly 3,000 acres that we row crop, we have chicken houses, and we have close to 3,000 head of cattle,” he said. “We’re a fairly large operation compared to those around us. I started physical labor [on the farm] around eight years old. I just enjoyed being in the field with my grandad and my father.”

FT. BRAGG STORIES: Helping Incarcerated Veterans

Nov 18, 2018
Portrait of former Staff Sergeant Josh Eisenhauer.
Dawn Erickson

 Lynn and Steve Newsom spent five years as co- directors of Fayetteville’s Quaker House. 

During their tenure, they advocated for better mental health care for incarcerated veterans, organizing a petition and vigil in April 2016 to draw attention to the plight of former Staff Sergeant Josh Eisenhauer. 

Before Devin Kelley killed 26 people at a Texas church, the Air Force failed to enter his criminal history into the FBI's background check system. Several victims' families are suing.

Active-duty troops are now at the U.S. border with Mexico, two weeks after President Trump ordered the deployment in response to a large group of migrants headed north from Central America.

Ashely Evans / Western Carolina University

Kevin Rumley had a near-picturesque upbringing that he describes being like a 1950s Disney movie. Growing up in Fairfax, Virginia, Rumley and his two brothers played music, rollerbladed and skateboarded on the halfpipe their dad built them.

Thank you for your service.

We’ll say those words a lot in observance of Veterans Day. It’s the least we can do, and by that I mean it’s the least we can do. They’re not empty words, exactly. Most of us really are grateful for the sacrifices veterans made on our behalf. But it’s sort of like offering thoughts and prayers to people who have just been through a disaster. The words do more good for the giver than the receiver.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'No End In Sight'

Nov 11, 2018
Kelly Rodriguez and her son Antonio snap a selfie in uniform.
Kelly Rodriguez

Sergeant First Class Kelly Rodriguez deployed more than five times in the course of her 21-year military career, serving as an Army Combat Medic in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and twice in Afghanistan. She loved her work, but it exposed her to some of the worst realities of war.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'Journey Through Darkness'

Nov 4, 2018
Major Ivan Castro shared his story at a live storytelling event at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville on August 18, 2018.
Elizabeth Friend

Retired Major Ivan Castro’s life was forever changed September 2, 2006, when a mortar landed near him in Iraq. Two of the men in his unit were killed and Castro was gravely injured. The attack left him completely blind, facing a long road to recovery.

A new study suggests military spouses vote much less than servicemembers, and they may not be getting the help they need to cast their votes.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'We Try To Debunk'

Oct 28, 2018
A mist photographed during Armando Nunez's first investigation at Cross Creek Cemetery, January, 2008.
Courtesy of Armando Nunez

In 2008, Armando Nunez and a friend decided on a whim to try their hand at ghost-hunting by taking pictures in a local cemetery. His wife Joanna and friend Tom Kuntz soon joined in and together they founded the Paranormal Research Organization of Fayetteville, or PROOF.

The VA says 8500 requests for wheelchairs, artificial limbs, and other equipment have waited more than 30 days. That's down from 64,000 requests last year.

courtesy of Alfredo Hurtado

When Alfredo Hurtado signed up to become a member of an Army military police unit, he figured he would be eating donuts and sitting in cars all day. Then the Sept. 11 attacks happened. Hurtado found himself guarding the twisted, dark corridors of the Pentagon, then detaining prisoners in Afghanistan. On his next deployment, to Iraq, his convoy hit an improvised explosive device that left Hurtado injured and in pain. 

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