Fayetteville

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.

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.”

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.   

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. 

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.

Capturing the Flag

The bedrock of American democracy is the right of every citizen to vote. But exercising that right can sometimes prove complicated. During the 2016 election, three old friends headed to Fayetteville to volunteer at polling stations, accompanied by a single camera they hoped would capture their efforts to ensure everyone who wanted to carry out their civic duty could do so. 

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.

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.

Britt Snuzz Uzzell
Gabby Bulgarelli for WUNC Music

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

This time around we're talking about the song "Fayetteville."  The city has had a rough week.  The Cape Fear River crested at near record levels, flooding streets and neighborhoods and forcing people out of their homes.

Many have left town for higher ground, but if they're anything like songwriter Britt Uzzell they'll be back.

Fayetteville Spared From Widespread Flooding

Sep 21, 2018
Fayetteville City Engineer Giselle Rodriguez assesses storm damage and high water marks in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
City of Fayetteville

Wind and water from Hurricane Florence damaged approximately 1,200 buildings in Fayetteville, but city officials say the town was spared from widespread flooding.

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. 

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'It Made Me Understand'

Jul 22, 2018
Joe Garcia holds his infant daughter Joanna
Joanna Nunez

Joanna Nunez's father, Joe Garcia, served two tours in Vietnam before retiring from the Army in the early 80s. Growing up in Fayetteville, she recalls her father was often distant and irritable, with dark mood swings that were hard to predict.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'Not Afraid Of The Fight'

Jul 15, 2018
Portrait of James Quigg
Norman Kent Photography

Many soldiers who decide to leave the military put their training to use in civilian careers. James Quigg is no different, although his career choice is somewhat unusual.  

He's a professional mixed martial arts fighter known as the Gentleman Brawler. 

"It can be pretty miserable to fight me, even if you're winning," said Quigg. "I'm not afraid of the fight." 

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'It Was A Hard Time'

Jun 24, 2018
Courtesy of Meg Miller

Lieutenant Colonel Frank Miller served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam before retiring to Fayetteville to run a grocery store in the late 60s and early 70s.

 The Boulevard Supermarket on Bragg Boulevard was a small mom-and-pop store catering to the many young G.I's who cycled through Fort Bragg on their way to the Vietnam war.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: Challenge Coins

Jun 10, 2018
Portrait of Steven Moore
Matt Couch / WUNC

Steven Moore has never served in the military, but for the past 16 years he's been serving the Fort Bragg community, specializing in the design of military challenge coins.

More than just collectible tokens, the coins are a concrete way to commemorate shared service and personal achievement. Commanders award them with a solemn handshake, and soldiers often treasure them as keepsakes.

“I’m told by the soldiers that they are highly coveted items, and gives them incentive to earn them,” Moore said.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'Everybody Talks On The Tattoo Table'

Apr 20, 2018
Kayla Knight prepares to get tattooed at the All American Tattoo Convention in Fayetteville.
Matt Couch / WUNC

Soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg support a thriving tattoo industry in Fayetteville and the surrounding towns. For some, the process of getting ink is just as important as the artwork.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: Helping Soldiers Find Their Voice

Mar 19, 2018
Courtesy Lenore Yarger and Steve Woolford

For 16 years, Lenore Yarger and Steve Woolford have answered the phone at the G.I. Rights Hotline, a number military service members can call for free and confidential counseling on benefits, regulations, discharges, grievances, and what it means to be a conscientious objector. The hotline is sponsored in part by Fayetteville's Quaker House, which has been advocating for peace since 1969.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'I Was Ready For A Challenge'

Mar 12, 2018
Courtesy Tom McCollum

When Tom McCollum transitioned from the 82nd Airborne to Special Forces, he knew the training would be tough.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'Finding Peace In The Present'

Feb 25, 2018
Portrait of Phil Sussman
Courtesy Phil Sussman

Before coming to Fort Bragg in 2016, Phil Sussman fractured his spine in a training accident, an injury he feared would end his military career.

"The pain was hands down the worst thing I've ever felt in my life, I can't even describe it," said Sussman. "I couldn't move, couldn’t roll over. It would bring my wife to tears every time she'd try to move me."

Still, Sussman was determined to continue his rigorous course of training.  His physical therapist, a former Green Beret, gave his blessing.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'Not A Shrinking Violet'

Feb 18, 2018
Portrait of Christina Railey, circa 1975.
Courtesy Patrick Railey

Patrick Railey was nine years old in 1970 when his father was killed in Vietnam. On the same day Chief Warrant Officer George Railey was fatally wounded, Patrick, his sister, and his mother were moving from Florida to their new house near Fort Bragg.

"I remember the scene of a military vehicle pulling up, well-dressed soldiers getting out and coming up to the house," Railey recalled. "You always knew that was bad news. You didn't want that to be your family."

Portrait of Libby Brice
Matt Couch / WUNC

Libby Brice was 20 years old in 1961 when she got a job on post as a secretary for the Criminal Investigation Division, one of only three women in the unit.

Billy (left) and his brother Dewey, playing soldiers as children at Fort Bragg during World War II.
Courtesy Billy Herring

Billy Herring was seven years old when his family moved on to Fort Bragg in 1939, one of only three civilian families on post at the time. His father ran the dairy farm, supplying milk to the soldiers.

Portrait of Col. (Ret.) Fred Black
Courtesy of Fred Black

As a young lieutenant in 1969, Fred Black was one of a handful of African-American officers at Fort Bragg. He said racial tensions rarely came to a head on post, but black soldiers could face discrimination when they ventured into the wider community.

Portrait of Mike Thomas.
Matt Couch / WUNC

Mike Thomas was a young captain in the summer of 1990 when he got orders to deploy to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield. After spending nine months in the Gulf, he flew home to Fort Bragg.

Deaths from drug overdose have surpassed homicides in North Carolina.
NC DHHS/FBI

Fayetteville is part of a nationwide project that is trying to compile information about the opioid crisis. 

The non-profit New America is working with about a dozen cities to create maps on opioid overdoses and how to prevent them.

Ft Bragg Stories A mixed 'chalk' of U.S. and British paratroopers line up to board a C-130 transport plane for the main jump of the joint exercise.
Jay Price / North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC

North Carolina is home to the largest U.S. military installation in the world by population. It employs more than 50,000 military and close to 30,000 civilians and contributes tens of billions of dollars to the state’s economy.

Retired Army Colonel Fred Black came to Fort Bragg as a second lieutenant platoon leader in 1968. He remembers the sense of pride and accomplishment among the men of the 82nd Airborne Division.

The Fayetteville City Council has denied a zoning permit that would have allowed a resident to run a shelter for victims of domestic violence out of her home.

A retreat for combat veterans and their families is coming to the Fayetteville area.
Fort Rucker / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/aDwYea

A non-profit group started by a Navy Seal who was involved in one of the most famous incidents of the war in Afghanistan is about to start building a retreat for combat veterans and their families near Fayetteville.

The Fayetteville City Council has moved forward on plans to build a downtown baseball stadium, approving two big measures this week.

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