Military

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Washington.
Evan Vucci / AP

They didn't like it when then-candidate Donald Trump criticized John McCain for being captured in combat. They were angrier when Trump, as commander in chief, abandoned Kurdish allies in the Middle East. And they were upset again last month when he threatened to deploy troops against American protesters.

The recent Supreme Court decision on LGBTQ job discrimination doesn't directly affect the military's transgender service ban, but people opposed to the ban say it may help their own court fight.

Soldiers gather for a 2019 awards ceremony at Fort Bragg, N.C. The base is one of 10 that Pentagon leaders say they are open to renaming.
Joshua Cowden / U.S. Army

With the call for changing the names of 10 Southern military bases gaining momentum, the question is starting to arise in Washington  and outside of it  what names might replace those of the Confederate generals they now bear?


Even as members of the Guard and Reserve are seeing longer and more frequent deployments, they don't always receive the same retirement, education, and housing benefits as active duty troops.

Soldiers of Indiana National Guard
Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy

As protests surged in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer, governors and mayors in more than 20 states deployed the National Guard to control the crowds.

Clifford Shuping feeds his goats outside his home in Rockwell, N.C. A Korean War era veteran, Shuping died of COVID-19 at the N.C. State Veterans Home in Salisbury last month.
Courtesy of Carrie McKinney

Clifford Paul Shuping, who served in the Army during the Korean conflict, passed away from COVID-19 at the State Veterans Home in Salisbury. As part of an effort to honor North Carolina veterans who have died during the pandemic, WUNC spoke with Shuping's family about his life and legacy.

Sarah Blake Morgan / AP

Edward Brown has always found a way to deal with his husband's military deployments in the past, but the most recent one felt different. Instead of an endless parade of family visits and last-minute errands, Brown and Staff Sgt. James Clyde were holed up inside their Fayetteville, North Carolina apartment watching Netflix and making TikTok videos.

When his mandatory two-week quarantine ended last Friday, Clyde made the short drive to Fort Bragg and boarded a plane for a nine-month deployment in the Middle East.

Some members of the National Guard are facing consequences because they refused orders to deploy to major cities during this month's protests.

The stones, engraved with swastikas, mark the graves of German POWs who died in the United States during World War II.

Lonon faces away from the cemetery while walking away.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

COVID-19 is changing all aspects of life — including the rituals we associate with death. All funerals have been upended, but veterans have now lost one particularly important ceremony: burial with military honors. 

Ivar Lonon holds two boxes containing the cremated remains of his mother and father at Salisbury National Cemetery in Salisbury, N.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Among all the milestones, the key rituals of life being cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic — weddings, baby showers, birthdays — is that iconic last one for military veterans, burial with military honors.

Fort Bragg provides an ideal environment for the St. Francis Satry, a critically endangered species of butterfly.
Courtesy of Nick Haddad

Of all federal agencies, the Department of Defense manages the highest density of threatened and endangered species, more than even the National Park Service. The special relationship between the Pentagon and environmentalist organizations originates at Fort Bragg.

The Irreverent Warriors, seen here holding a 2016 'silkies hike' in Jacksonville, N.C., has been forced to suspend its hikes and hangouts because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sean Berry / U.S. Marine Corps

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most of us into social isolation. But for veterans with mental health issues, staying at home runs counter to advice they've long received to get out and interact with the world.

Cup of black coffee.
Creative Commons

Warfare has been part of human existence since the beginning — and so have mind-altering substances. Drugs have funded wars, fueled soldiers on the battlefield, helped to expand and establish nationstates and more.

A military member in distress
Alex Pena / U.S. Air Force

A clinical trial of active-duty military members showed for the first time that a known pain treatment can also be effectively used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

82nd Airborne paratroopers marching at Fort Bragg
Sgt. Kissta M. Feldner / U.S. Military

Iranian airstrikes on two U.S. military bases in Iraq yesterday marked a response to the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. In the past week, thousands of soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg rapidly deployed to the Middle East and Marines from Camp Lejeune are now also on their way to reinforce U.S. military presence.

Jeffries stands in uniform next to a sign that reads 'Lindsey Jefferies NC's First Female African AMerican Black Helicopter Pilot for the NC Army National Guard.'
Courtesy of Lindsey Jefferies

Captain Lindsey Jefferies was the first of her six siblings to graduate from college. As a child, her family struggled financially and was constantly on the move in search of better paying jobs and a lower cost of living. She hoped that getting a good education could be a ticket to a more secure future and set the goal of attending UNC-Chapel Hill.

Soldiers at Fort Benning, Ga. use immersion troughs filled with ice and water to cool off during training in this 2018 photo.
Patrick A. Albright / U.S. Army

The Pentagon says reported cases of heat exhaustion jumped nearly 50 percent between 2014 and 2018.

Christina Westover / U.S. Army

Thousands of military personnel were deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border in the fall of last year. At the time President Donald Trump said their purpose was to bolster security and help reduce illegal border crossings.

98-year-old Normandy survivor Ray Lambert (left) accepts a plaque at a June 2018 ceremony. Fort Bragg paratroopers splashed down in his Moore County neighborhood as part of a salute to his service.
Ted Fitzgerald / The Pilot (Southern Pines, N.C.)

As he takes part in the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Normandy invasion, Ray Lambert of Moore County, N.C. worries that his generation's values have eroded.

Courtesy of Zachary Stauffer

Naval aviator Lt. Wes Van Dorn signed up to pilot MH-53E helicopters — big, heavy single-rotor aircraft — with assurances he’d be home on most days to have dinner with his family and tuck his son into bed at night.

But as the Greensboro native soon discovered, maintenance and supply issues often kept the choppers grounded, and maintainers and pilots like him at work. In 2014, Van Dorn was killed in a training exercise off the coast of Virginia along with two sailors, leaving his wife Nicole and two young boys behind.

Carissa Rogers / Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/goodncrazy/14262072596/

When a Vietnam War veteran died Christmas Eve with no family nearby, a community of veterans, a friend and military supporters in North Carolina stepped up to make sure he was finally laid to rest with military honors.

5th graders from J.S. Waters Elementary School in Chatham County visit the USS North Carolina. The ship gets more than a quarter of a million visitors a year, many of them  with school groups who come to learn about its history.
Jay Price / WUNC

"Vulnerable" seems like the last word to describe a 70 million-pound armored ship that can fire shells weighing as much as a car. But now the USS North Carolina, one of the state's most iconic tourist attractions, has a new enemy … and a new battle plan.

To keep up with potential adversaries such as China, the Pentagon is teaming with civilian technological innovators and trying to adopt some of the practices of the private sector.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pages