Plumes of white smoke washed over a field as the ground shook under the force of 18 howitzer cannons.
The display was part of a week-long training event meant to bring Fort Bragg artillerymen "back to basics."
The training, which included smaller-level fire missions and battalion-level exercises, was the first of its scale since 2004, before the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery was inactivated in 2006 as part of a larger Army restructuring.
The unit, which oversees artillery battalions in each of the 82nd Airborne Division's three brigade combat teams, was reactivated last year.
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The Fort Bragg soldier who set off a wave of panic and caused a lockdown at Cross Creek Mall earlier this month was ordered not to possess firearms outside of his military duties.
Cumberland County District Court Judge Lou Olivera set a condition on the bail for Bryan Wolfinger that he can not possess firearms outside performance of his military duties. Wolfinger, who is charged with misdemeanor going armed to the terror of the public, appeared in court on Thursday.
His case was continued and a new date has not been set.
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The Fort Bragg soldier who forced a lockdown at Cross Creek Mall earlier this month was charged with a centuries-old misdemeanor known as going armed to the terror of the public.
The charge dates to at least 1781, says Ronnie Mitchell, the lawyer for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.
"It's a very ancient charge," he said. "It started even before the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787."
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/fort-bragg-soldier-s-gun-related-charge-predates-u-s/article_e1302c96-559f-5dca-9f38-754e5b80e030.html
I remember the calls coming across the scanner: apparently someone had a gun at the mall.
In the wake of Sandy Hook and the Colorado movie theater shooting, we knew this was critical to report on to inform our readers. And it wasn't long before national media picked up the story.
Our night crime reporter took off to report from the scene - and we found out the person in question was a soldier at Fort Bragg. Our night crime reporter handled the first story.
I was on the breaking news shift the following day and was tasked with following up on the story. The first thing I did was go to the magistrate's office to read the charges. That's where I found a handwritten statement written by Bryan Wolfinger, the soldier charged. Wolfinger declined to talk to any media, but his written statement spoke for him. It was public and no one else had it. His statement was filled with incredible details that no one else had (like, that he used the gun as a prop for a photo shoot).
On top of that, Wolfinger put his cell phone number on the police documents, so I was able to call him. He didn't want to talk to me, but promised I would be his first interview after the case is settled.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/soldier-in-cross-creek-mall-lockdown-wanted-photos-for-a/article_31eb0091-5c2d-547c-b5a6-d1ddc86843f8.html
Behind the byline
Here's an inside look at how some of my favorite stories came together.