Sometimes I stumble upon the best stories.
That's what happened when I found the Pathfinders.
I attended a family social event for soldiers of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. The story for that assignment was simply the joy families felt to have their soldiers home for Thanksgiving. The previous year, most of those soldiers had been deployed to Afghanistan.
While I was mingling around the event, the Public Affairs Officer introduced me to a captain who was the commander of the unit's infantry unit - the Pathfinders. Why would an aviation unit have an infantry company? So the Public Affairs Officer helped coordinate a time for me to observe the unit training at Fort Bragg the following month.
The training itself wasn't that exciting. But, the commander shared with me how the unit's role as part of the larger Army is changing. So I worked my story as a profile on this unique unit and its changes since World War II.
And, of course, the art is breathtaking. All of the photos are by staff photographer Andrew Craft.
You can read the feature from the Fayetteville Observer here: http://www.fayobserver.com/military/pathfinders-secure-land-lead-helicopters-and-soldiers/article_964b7d53-0c91-5c6d-a311-0fcf04345140.html
Behind the byline
Here's an inside look at how some of my favorite stories came together.