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FT. BRAGG STORIES: From Agriculture To Airborne

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.”

As an adult, Tyler went into agricultural equipment sales, traveling the country while also helping manage his family’s farm. But despite his successful career, he had dreams of serving in the Army.

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“My grandfather retired a colonel, my brother is in the national guard,” said Dunn. “It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do.”

It took him six years to decide that he wanted to enlist. He and his wife spent several months hashing out the details.

“We had plans set in place to continue things back home, knowing I was going to be away and be out of touch.”

Dunn joined the Army last year and was selected for early promotion. At age 27, he’s now a mortarman with the 82nd Airborne Division, balancing his military service with the demands of the family business back home.

“I’ve never wanted to be just average.”

He tells fellow soldiers: “Never think that because of your rank you can’t accomplish a bigger task because it belongs to a higher rank person.”  

The Ft. Bragg Stories series is a collaboration between the Fayetteville Observer and WUNC's American Homefront Project to commemorate a century of history at Fort Bragg through personal narratives. You can hear other stories in the serieshere. If you'd like to share your Fort Bragg story, you can send it here, or email

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