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
The doodles that fill the pages of Xavier Smith’s sketchbook have come alive in eye-popping designs on the fabric of sneakers.The ideas just flow out when the 20-year-old Smith, affectionately nicknamed “Zae,” sits down to paint. He doesn’t think too hard; just let it happen, he said.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170624/meet-xavier-smith-shoe-designer-adding-flair---even-to-jordans
On Friday, the five finalist names for Fayetteville's new minor league baseball team were announced ... and they're definitely wild.
Woodpeckers, Wood Dogs, Fly Traps, Jumpers or Fatbacks.
Fatbacks! For those of you fellow Northerners, that's a southern food delicacy. It's literally the fat from a pig's back.
I've only had it once.
It was on a collared sandwich (that's collared greens smashed between two slices of cornbread, which is as gross as it sounds). I thought the fatbacks were french fries, so I took them off and ate them separately. Fatal mistake. It was a mouth full of salty fat. At that moment I decided there is not one southern food that I really like. I'll stick to my spaghetti, heroes and pierogies.
So anyway, our new baseball team could really be named after pig fat.
The newsroom's reactions to these names were animated. It got me thinking, 'What does the rest of Fayetteville think?'
Reporter Chick Jacobs and I went downtown to ask people. The video I shot and edited is so different than the news videos we normally do, and I wanted it to be that way. I wanted it to be light, fun and capture people's candid reactions to these eclectic baseball team names. Enjoy.
Lawyers for alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said it’s regrettable that a military judge is preventing them from asking potential jurors if they voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
“We do have an issue concerning what we think is a core question, which is how did people vote in the election,” Bergdahl’s lawyer Eugene Fidell said to reporters after a hearing Thursday on Fort Bragg. “We think that’s important, and we’re not going to know the answer to that question. That’s regrettable.”
Col. Jeffery Nance, the military judge overseeing the case, listened to arguments Thursday morning as defense lawyers and prosecutors discussed a questionnaire that will be distributed to potential jurors in the upcoming court-martial. Nance did not finalize the questionnaire, but said he will not allow a question the defense lawyers wanted — asking jurors who they voted for in the 2016 presidential race.
You can read the story here:
Nerves mixed with excitement as Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nicolas Viennot waited for his father in a French airport.
It had been three years since the French-native had visited France to see his father. He couldn’t wait to tell him that he was not only serving in the United States Army, but that he had fulfilled his dream of becoming a pilot on a UH-60 Black Hawk.
Just minutes earlier, Viennot had stepped off the plane and dashed to find a bathroom so he could change into his camouflage green Army uniform. His hair was trim and his uniform pressed neatly, as he stood waiting.
“My dad saw me, he saw my patch,” said Viennot, now 37, with a lingering French accent. “He started crying. It just triggered something in him.”
Viennot didn’t realize it, but his 82nd Airborne Division patch took his father, Serge Viennot, back more than 70 years to the streets of Troyes, France, where the townspeople lived in trembling fear under forceful German control.
The elder Viennot would never forget that patch.
It was the patch sewn on the sleeves of the Americans who stuck out their arms from tanks to share their food with the hungry, and who waved their hands offering the slightest glimmer of peace.
You can read the story here:
Over the past two years, a quiet swagger of fire power has intensified during training at Fort Bragg, unleashing in the Middle East where hundreds of American artillery soldiers brought the fight to the jihadist extremist militant group ISIS.
Col. John Rafferty Jr., commander of the 18th Field Artillery Brigade at Fort Bragg, expected nothing less from the 1,300 soldiers under his command.
You can read the story here:
Behind the byline
Here's an inside look at how some of my favorite stories came together.