Somewhere at an austere outpost in Afghanistan, 1st Sgt. Adam Breeding will be reaching for Christmas cookies in a plastic bag.
The cookies will be at least two weeks old, so his wife, Heather Breeding, back home in North Carolina, hopes the slice of bread she packed with them held in the moisture. She and a few other wives, girlfriends and mothers of soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team baked and shipped the cookies in early December so they’d arrive in Afghanistan by Christmas.
It’s not how the Breeding family hoped to spend the holiday this year. But when the Army called on the 82nd Airborne Division to deploy to Afghanistan in June, the family, like thousands of other Army families, did their best to make Christmas special.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171223/its-hard-having-someone-deployed-at-christmas
President Donald Trump presented a Purple Heart on Thursday to an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper who was injured in Afghanistan last month.
Trump presented the medal to 1st Lt. Victor E. Prato, assigned to the division’s 127th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, in his hospital room at Walter Reed National Military Center. Prato was injured after his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device and rolled over, according to a spokesman from 1st Brigade Combat Team in Afghanistan.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171222/president-presents-purple-heart-to-82nd-airborne-paratrooper
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who surprised troops at Guantanamo on Thursday, will visit 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers at Fort Bragg today, according to the Department of Defense.
“Secretary Mattis is currently visiting with troops in multiple locations for the holidays to thank them for their service and pay his respects for their sacrifices,” said Eric Pahon, a spokesman for the DOD.
Col. Joseph Buccino, spokesman for the 82nd Airborne Division, said he couldn’t comment on the visit.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171221/secretary-of-defense-mattis-to-visit-bragg-troops-today
Henry Page, a young Navy gunner’s mate from Moore County, was at the weapons depot when Japanese planes circled overhead at Pearl Harbor.
Within minutes, an unimaginable disaster unfolded around him.
Page, now 96, was among the U.S. service members who diligently searched for survivors and cared for the wounded after the attack 76 years ago today.
It’s hard for him to talk about those memories.
They’re painful snapshots of the day he lost hundreds of comrades, his family says, and he felt helpless.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171206/76-years-later-fayetteville-navy-veteran-remembers-pearl-harbor
After safely landing from an airborne operation over Sicily Drop Zone, American paratroopers marched in formation, waiting for the next command from their Dutch jump master.
The jump master paced in front of the group, lauding the paratroopers for their successful jump and landing.
“Congratulations from Dutch paratroopers,” he said, before awarding pins of Dutch wings to each soldier. “The U.S. and the Netherlands work together, not just in training, but deployments. We’re coalition partners and really proud to be coalition partners with the U.S.”
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171202/bragg-soldiers-earn-foreign-wings-in-toy-drop
Hundreds of paratroopers thriving on energy drinks and adrenaline filled Green Ramp early Friday, clutching ticket stubs as an announcer rattled off a six-digit number.
When soldiers heard their numbers called, they sprinted to claim a coveted spot on a flight with a foreign jump master. If no one claimed the spot, the crowd collectively screamed, “Scratch!,” a signal to move on to the next ticket.
Regardless of who got a spot, children hoping for a cheerful Christmas were the big winners.
Read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171201/paratroopers-seeking-wings-spread-christmas-spirit
Behind the byline
Here's an inside look at how some of my favorite stories came together.