Spc. Nicholas Roberts, 27, of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, died Tuesday during a training jump over Sicily Drop Zone.
Airborne training has been halted at Fort Bragg until each unit under the 18th Airborne Corps has completed a refresher course at the Advanced Airborne School, military officials announced Thursday.
The decision follows a second death of an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper in about two weeks. It does not affect special operations troops on Fort Bragg.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/th-airborne-corps-suspends-jumps-following-death/article_b301c602-5934-522a-8541-28b83aac704b.html
The gunfire pops lasted just 15 seconds.
It was 15 seconds of chaos as stunned soldiers tried to register what was interrupting their routine meeting during an afternoon lull at Fort Hood, Texas, last year.
And yet, in such a short time that is remembered by violence, soldiers sprang to their feet in heroic acts to care for each other.
It's 15 seconds that Sgt. George Long constantly recalls.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/military/fort-hood-shooting-fort-bragg-soldier-to-be-honored/article_9fc71c58-9f74-5155-9e70-e22286b6e9c1.html
Aboard a C-130 over Fort Bragg all paratroopers are equal, except the jumpmasters who oversee the jump.
That's the way an airborne operation is supposed to be, Fort Bragg officials said. But in practice, an Army report found that jumpmasters on Fort Bragg often felt intimidated by those higher in rank, leading to preferential treatment for higher ranking soldiers in the 18th Airborne Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division.
Leaders said they are fighting that perception and working to make airborne operations safer following the death of a colonel during a jump on post in September 2013.
A special investigation into a VIP culture found evidence supporting such an atmosphere. The special investigation was ordered by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno after the investigation into the death of Col. Darron Wright.
Investigators spoke to hundreds of Fort Bragg paratroopers, conducted surveys and interviews, and observed training as part of the follow-up.
The majority of those surveyed said a VIP culture exempted "high-ranking individuals from institutionalized procedures that apply to the rest of the airborne population" and "enabled much of the trouble described" in the report following Wright's death.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/military/inquiry-following-colonel-s-death-notes-vip-culture-at-fort/article_55bfee45-0bb3-519e-9689-5074e98f1c5c.html
Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division will deploy this summer to Iraq to join about 1,250 soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team already there to back the U.S.'s intervention against the Islamic State.
About 500 paratroopers from the division headquarters will leave in June for a nine-month deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Fort Bragg said in a news release.
Paratroopers will have a contingent in Iraq. Other paratroopers will be based outside Iraq in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
Read the story here:
Above photo: Pfc. James Groth and his widow, Jordan on their wedding day. Groth was killed Feb. 20, 2014 in an artillery accident on Fort Bragg.
As I was working on my profile of Sgt. Muzzy, I realized we never submitted a FOIA request for the investigative report. The accident occurred before I was promoted the military beat, so I immediately submitted the request and received it shortly after.
It is worth noting that FOIAs take *forever*.
The turnaround time is typically about a year, but since a year had already passed since the accident, this FOIA was returned faster than normal.
The report outlined several mistakes made that contributed to the death and severe injuries of soldiers participating in the artillery training.
I worked on a story that clearly translated military speak for our readers so they could understand what went so wrong.
The other story I wrote came from the actions of the medics.
As I read through the report, the thing that struck me was that, had these two medics not reacted so swiftly, the injuries could have been more severe. Even more impressive, these medics were fresh out of school. This accident was the first real-life test of their skills.
At first, the army was reluctant to let me interview the medics. I thought I would have to rely on the written statements they gave to investigators, which were part of the FOIA. Eventually, however, the Army made the medics available, and I did my best to capture their memories on the night of this tragic accident.
Read the stories here:
Fort Bragg officers, crew disciplined in fatal howitzer accident, report shows:
Young medics, fresh out of school, credited with saving Howitzer accident victims:
Cindy Burnham photo
Spc. Jordan Morales, left, and Spc. Jordan Moreno, medics with headquarters and headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, are credited with saving the lives of Sgt. Cory Muzzy and Spc. Scott Yeates.
Behind the byline
Here's an inside look at how some of my favorite stories came together.