Military

FT. BRAGG STORIES: Hurricane Florence

Oct 14, 2018
Spc. Alvarez carries a package of bottled water to a family in New Bern, North Carolina, Sept. 21, 2018.
Pfc. Audrianna Arellano / 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade

Hundreds of soldiers aided in Hurricane Florence rescue and recovery efforts, even as some saw their own homes flooded or evacuated. 

Specialist Ruben Alvarez is a parachute rigger at Fort Bragg. During the storm, he volunteered to help evacuate houses, working long shifts with the 189th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

"Ring of Red: A Barrio Story" relies on oral histories to tell the rarely heard stories of Mexican-American veterans.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: Earning The President's Hundred Tab

Oct 7, 2018
Portrait of Spc. Jonathon Wannemacher
Sgt. Brian Stephenson / 49th Public Affairs Detachment, Fort Bragg

Specialist Jonathon Wannemacher is an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne. He’s also a skilled marksman. At age 26, he’s ranked as one of the top 100 competitive shooters in the country. He placed 81 out of roughly 1,200 shooters in the President’s Hundred Match, a national competition held this past July in Camp Perry, OH.

Inflexible work schedules and lack of support can make it tough for new mothers in the military to keep breastfeeding their children.

Portrait of Nicole Coschigano
Nicole Coschigano

The Base Realignment and Closure process of 2005 shut down 24 military installations across the country and consolidated many more.

Fort Bragg grew as a result, adding the U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command.

Retired Army combat medic Kelly Rodriguez talks about the mixed emotions she felt when her son joined the Army and left on his first deployment.
Elizabeth Friend / WUNC

As part of Fort Bragg's 100 anniversary commemoration, WUNC hosted an hour of storytelling about life on and around the nation's largest Army base.

Nurse Carpathia McRavin, left, draws blood from Bud Sadler, right, of Cedar Point, at a Veterans Affairs mobile health clinic in Havelock on Thursday, September 20, 2018 following Hurricane Florence.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

The VA is trying to take care of hundreds of thousands of veterans in hurricane-damaged Eastern North Carolina. Some have medical problems that could be worsened by the storm; others have housing needs. 

An agency pilot program aims to bypass regulations that can make it hard for veterans to get cutting-edge medical treatment.

Approximately 5 million veterans live in rural America, and almost sixty percent of them rely on VA healthcare. But accessing that care can be a challenge.

Not all racially-motivated killings in the Jim Crow-era were classified as "lynchings." Activists are trying to document the rest.

Actors reenact a 1946 lynching in Walton County, Ga. in which a veteran, his wife, and another couple were killed. The reenactment is an annual event staged by actors and civil rights activists.
Jay Price / WUNC

As they returned home from war, proud of their service, black veterans in the south often encountered suspicion, resentment, and - in some cases - brutal violence.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: First Flight

Sep 23, 2018
Potrait of Bob Dean as a young man
Bob Dean

Bob Dean was a twenty-year-old rising senior at Cornell in 1950. When the Korean War started that summer, he was training with his ROTC class at Fort Bragg.

“I recall for the early part of the training, we had a heck of a good time,” said Dean, now 88. “We did not take it seriously.”
 

Dean was learning the basics of artillery leadership, including aerial observation. He was delighted to be the first in his class selected to go up in a small plane over the ranges to practice adjusting artillery fire from the air.  

It was his very first plane ride.

Around the country, state governments and other agencies are trying to promote entrepreneurship among military veterans.

Last year, the VA began offering mental health treatment to vets who don't normally qualify for V-A care. Since then, fewer than 200 people have used the program.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'The Checkpoints Went Up Overnight'

Sep 9, 2018
Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg

Growing up on Fort Bragg as the son of an active duty service member, Josh Groll saw the military installation as his home, a small town insulated from the rest of the world.

The VA has opened more call centers and hired hundreds of additional responders after complaints that some callers experienced long hold times or were sent to voicemail.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'Time Stood Still'

Sep 2, 2018
Portrait of Shelli Altopp-Miller
Shelli Altopp-Miller

In the fall of 2001, Shelli Altopp-Miller was living with her husband and two small children at Pope Air Force Base. He was on active duty with the Air Force, she was a stay-at-home mother. 

The number of veterans in the VA healthcare system who are 70 or older is expected to grow 30 percent in the next eight years.

Veterans now make up less than 20 percent of Congress, compared with about 75 percent in the 1960s. Some high-profile candidates are trying to reverse that trend.

U.S. Defense Department forensic anthropologists in Wonsan, North Korea examine the contents of boxes containing the possible remains of U.S. MIAs July 27, 2018.
David Marshall / U.S. Army

Families hope advances in DNA technology and thawing U.S./North Korean relations will help the government recover and identify long-missing remains of service members.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'Square Peg In A Round Hole'

Aug 26, 2018
Lynn and Steve Newsom hold a banner for Quaker House
Lynn Newsom

Steve Newsom and his wife Lynn spent five years as co-directors of Quaker House, the Fayetteville nonprofit that advocates for peace and supports service members who question their role in the military. 

As a young man growing up New Jersey, Steve thought he might spend his entire adult career in the military, joining the Navy in 1972. 

The Navy is rolling out its latest plan to manage wildlife in its ocean training grounds from Southern California to Hawaii. But environmentalists worry the Navy is backsliding in its efforts to protect marine life.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'He Stood Out In My Mind'

Aug 19, 2018
Mary Ellen Shugart holds a portrait of herself as a young Army nurse in Vietnam.
Matt Couch

Mary Ellen Shugart served two tours as an Army nurse in Vietnam in the 1960s and early 70s. She treated hundreds of soldiers, but the memory of one young man at Fort Bragg stayed with her through the years.

She recalled treating a soldier in the ICU and Recovery Ward at Womack Army Hospital in 1966. Injured in Vietnam, he’d been flown back to the U.S. for treatment for an abdominal wound.

Jung Yeon-je / AP Photo

Families of U.S. troops who went missing during the Korean War gathered in Washington D.C. last weekend with a renewed sense of optimism

55 boxes that may contain remains of service members killed during the war were recently repatriated from North Korea, and advances in science may help experts identify who those remains belong to. Almost 8,000 U.S. troops who went missing during the Korean War are still unaccounted for.

Facing a shortage of pilots, the Air Force is experimenting with ways to make training programs faster and less expensive.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'The War Is Over'

Aug 12, 2018
A portrait of Bill Reid, age 17.
Holly Reid

Bill Reid is 92 now, but back in 1944 he was just 18 when he was drafted to fight in World War II. He traveled by train from New Jersey to Fort Bragg for 17 weeks of training before heading off to Europe. 

On his first day at Bragg, Reid recalled he was not impressed with his initial assignment.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'More Than Ink And Skin'

Aug 5, 2018
Lewis Hunt's tattoo commemorates his grandfather, his parents, and his own military service.
Matt Couch

Tattoos have long been a hallmark of military service. Memorial tattoos, in particular, have a special place in the armed forces. Images inked on flesh can pay tribute to those who have served, salute the fallen, and help soldiers and their families commemorate life changing events.

During World War II, more than a quarter million Filipinos fought alongside American soldiers. Many are still awaiting the recognition promised to them.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'We're Ready To Start Healing'

Jul 29, 2018
Mike Duskin stands with his wife Maggie
Maggie Duskin

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Duskin served with the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg. During seven deployments over the course of 15 years, he and his wife Maggie established routines to cope with his absences and keep the lives of their three children running smoothly.

From 2009 to 2016, the Defense Department recruited more than 10,000 non-citizens into the armed forces. Now some say they're being discharged without explanation.

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