Stirred awake in the middle of the night, thousands of paratroopers flooded Fort Bragg to draw a rifle, don a parachute and prepare for a simulated combat jump.
The soldiers quietly focused as they grabbed their parachutes and started the tedious process of hooking up the heavy equipment. Jump masters moved around Green Ramp to inspect each piece of equipment, running their hands across helmets and tugging at straps underneath the paratroopers’ legs to ensure they were properly fastened.
It may be just a drill this time, but the soldiers recognize they’re always on standby to jump into hostile, foreign land to intervene in catastrophes.
“We could be used at any time,” said infantryman Spc. Garrett Blankenship. “Our readiness affects the team, it affects the integrity of the operation.”
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170729/82nd-airborne-division-demonstrates-grit-ability-to-rapidly-deploy
LUMBERTON – The quiet apartment complex off Marion Drive was bustling on Friday, as residents who were forced out by Hurricane Matthew in October began to return to their homes.
Starting on Friday, 17 elders who had been living in motels for the past nine months began moving back into their renovated apartments. It’s the first wave of 81 people who were forced from the First Baptist senior apartments because of the hurricane’s devastating flooding in Lumberton.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170714/after-9-months-hurricane-victims-move-out-of-hotel
Working under the commands of the Mexican Armed Forces, American paratroopers listened closely awaiting commands in Spanish.
And when the light inside the aircraft flipped from red to green, these paratroopers from distinct armies seamlessly meshed together as they exited the aircraft in the sky above Chihuahua, Mexico.
During a four-day training exchange, paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team demonstrated how they transition from working under the commands of their jumpmasters to those of a foreign counterpart. The armies conducted jumps into Fort Bragg and Mexico this week.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170712/american-mexican-armies-train-together
As he inched across the platform, 78-year-old Morgan Smith took a deep breath.
The U.S. Army paratrooper standing next to him had already checked his equipment. Smith was ready.
The soldier tapped Smith’s shoulder.
“Green light!,” the soldier yelled, and Smith stepped off the platform, sliding down a wire from 34 feet above the ground.
“Whew,” Smith said. “I was nervous. I’m not kidding you. I tried to look at the skyline instead of looking down.”
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170712/paratroopers-demonstrate-their-skills-for-civilian-association
It’s been 14 years since the United States last fired a Patriot missile, but Col. Joseph McCallion Jr. said air defense soldiers have pressed on with grueling training as they remain vigilant for enemy threats.
“I don’t know when the next missile war is, but I’m confident we’ll demonstrate high lethality,” said McCallion, commander of the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. “Soldiers are well-trained. They do it so much it’s muscle memory.”
Read the full story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170711/mccallion-relinquishes-command-of-108th-air-defense-artillery-brigade
Behind the byline
Here's an inside look at how some of my favorite stories came together.