Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg is a major United States Army installation, in Cumberland and Hoke counties, North Carolina, U.S., mostly in Fayetteville but also partly in the town of Spring Lake. It was also a census-designated place in the 2010 census and had a population of 39,457. The fort is named for Confederate General Braxton Bragg. It covers over 251 square miles (650 km2) in four counties. It is best known as the home of the US Army Airborne Forces and Special Forces.


Camp Bragg was established in 1918, as an artillery training ground. The aim was for six artillery brigades to be stationed there and $6,000,000 was spent on the land and cantonments. There was an airfield on the camp used by aircraft and balloons for artillery spotters which was named Pope Field on April 1, 1919 in honor of First Lieutenant Harley H. Pope an airman who was killed while flying nearby. The work on the camp was finished on November 1, 1919. It was named to honor a native North Carolinian, Gen. Braxton Bragg, who commanded Confederate States Army forces in the Civil War.

The original plan for 6 brigades was abandoned after World War I ended and once demobilisation had started. The artillery men, their equipment and material from Camp McClellan, Alabama were moved over to Fort Bragg and testing began on long range weapons that were a product of the war. The 6 artillery brigades were reduced to two containments and a garrison was to be built for Army troops as well as a National Guard training center. In early 1921 two field artillery units the 13th and 17th Field Artillery Brigades began training at Camp Bragg.

Due to the post war cutbacks the camp was nearly closed for good when the War department issued orders to close the camp on August 7, 1921. General Albert J. Bowley was commander at the camp and after much campaigning, and getting the Secretary of War to visit the camp, the closing order was cancelled on September 16, 1921. The Field Artillery Board was transferred to Fort Bragg on February 1, 1922.

Camp Bragg was renamed Fort Bragg, to signify becoming a permanent Army post, on September 30, 1922. From 1923 to 1924, permanent structures were constructed on Fort Bragg, including four barracks, which still stand today.

World War II

By 1940, the population of Fort Bragg had reached 5,400; However, in the following year, that number ballooned to 67,000. Various units trained at Fort Bragg during World War II, including the 9th Infantry Division, 2nd Armored Division, 82nd Airborne Division, 100th Infantry Division, and various field artillery groups. The population reached a peak of 159,000 during the war years.


Following World War II, the 82nd Airborne Division was permanently stationed at Fort Bragg, the only large unit there for some time. In July 1951, the XVIII Airborne Corps was reactivated at Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg became a center for unconventional warfare, with the creation of the Psychological Warfare Center in April 1952, followed by the 10th Special Forces Group.

Vietnam War

In 1961, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was activated at Fort Bragg, with the mission of training counter-insurgency forces in Southeast Asia. Also in 1961, the "Iron Mike" statue, a tribute to all Airborne soldiers, past, present and future, was dedicated. In June 1972, the 1st Corps Support Command arrived at Fort Bragg.


The 1980s saw a series of deployments of tenant units to the Caribbean, first to Grenada in 1983, Honduras in 1986, and to Panama in 1989. The 5th Special Forces Group departed Fort Bragg in the late 1980s.


In 1990, the XVIII Airborne Corps along with 82nd Airborne Division deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. The mid and late 90s saw increased modernization of the facilities in Fort Bragg. The World War II wooden barracks were largely removed, a new main post exchange was built, and Devers Elementary School was opened, along with several other projects.

21st century

Following the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the units on Fort Bragg have seen a sizeable increase to their Operations Tempo (OPTEMPO), with units conducting two, three, or even four or more deployments to combat zones. The Korean War-era barracks that house the 82nd Airborne Division are currently (as of time of writing: January 2007) being torn down and replaced. Both FORSCOM and USARC Headquarters are scheduled to relocate to Fort Bragg by the summer of 2011 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (2005) initiative which recommended that Fort McPherson (current location of both commands) be closed. On March 1, 2011, Pope Field, the former Pope Air Force Base was absorbed into Fort Bragg.

Tenant units

Several airborne units of the U.S. Army are stationed at Fort Bragg, notably the XVIII Airborne Corps HQ, the 82nd Airborne Division, and the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).

Other units stationed at Fort Bragg include the:

  • 1st Sustainment Command (Theater)
  • 1st Training Brigade, USACAPOC(A)
  • 1st SFOD-D
  • 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  • 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne)
  • 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  • 10th Press Camp Headquarters
  • 16th Military Police Brigade
  • 18th Fires Brigade
  • 20th Engineer Brigade
  • 43rd Airlift Group
  • 44th Medical Brigade
  • 82nd Sustainment Brigade
  • 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne)
  • 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade
    • 3rd Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment
  • 189th Infantry Brigade
  • B Company, 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power)
  • 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade
  • 528th Sustainment Brigade (former SOSCOM)
  • John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School
  • Joint Communications Unit
  • United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command
  • U.S. Army Parachute Team
  • Womack Army Medical Center
Geography and ecology

Fort Bragg is at 35°8'21" North, 78°59'57" West (35.139064, -78.999143).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the base has a total area of 19.0 square miles (49.2 km²), of which, 19.0 square miles (49.1 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it is water. The total area is 0.32% water.

International security website reports that Fort Bragg occupies approximately 160,700 acres (650 km2)

The base area is the only known locality where the endangered Saint Francis' Satyr butterfly (Neonympha (mitchellii) francisci) occurs. It is found in a few sites within the base perimeter, which are not publicized due to fears of illegal collection by soldiers. The entire known population of this highly distinct subspecies (perhaps a full species) is a few 100 to barely over 1,000 individuals (varying according to climate conditions); in effect, if one in 20 human base occupants were to collect a single butterfly each, the Saint Francis' Satyr would go completely extinct even in those years when it is most plentiful.

The butterfly's survival seems to depend on the North American Beaver (Castor canadensis), which is presently found in some numbers at Fort Bragg, in particular the beavers' damming-up of small creeks and abandoning their works later. The N. m. francisci caterpillars seem to feed on Carex mitchelliana sedges which grow at former beaver-ponds before these are in turn overgrown by woodland; possibly they can eat nothing else. The Saint Francis' Satyr's survival depends on maintaining the right proportion of controlled burns and beaver activity; the situation is believed to be stable according to recent studies by NC State, the NCDENR and the Army's Directorate of Public Works. By and large, the presently-employed habitat management practices seem to ensure the butterfly's survival (presumably as a synergy of the beavers' reintroduced in 1939). To (re)expand the N. m. francisci population to a more secure regional footing, additional measures (e.g. growing C. mitchelliana at Fort Bragg and in surrounding areas) would be necessary.

Fort Bragg fever, a bacterial zoonotic disease, has been named after it.


As of the census of 2000, there are 29,183 people, 4,315 households, and 4,215 families residing on the base. The population density is 1,540.0 people per square mile (594.6/km²). There are 4,420 housing units at an average density of 233.3/sq mi (90.1/km²).

Racial makeup

The racial makeup of the base is 58.1% Caucasian, 25.3% African-American, 1.2% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.9% Pacific Islander, 8.3% from other races, and 4.6% from two or more races. 15.8% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.


There are 4,315 households out of which 85.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 88.9% are married couples living together, 7.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 2.3% are non-families. 2.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 0.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.72 and the average family size is 3.74.


The age distribution is 25.8% under the age of 18, 40.9% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 1.1% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 22 years. For every 100 females there are 217.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 293.5 males. All of these statistics are typical for military bases.


The median income for a household on the base is $30,106, and the median income for a family is $29,836. 10.0% of the population and 9.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 11.4% of those under the age of 18 and 0.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Events of note
  • In 1967, Manuel Noriega, who would later go on to become the dictator of Panama, received Psyop training at this location.
  • On February 17, 1970, the pregnant wife and two daughters of Jeffrey R. MacDonald were murdered. The events surrounding the murders were retold in the book Fatal Vision, itself made into a television miniseries of the same name.
  • On October 27, 1995, William Kreutzer Jr. opened fire at Fort Bragg, killing an officer and wounding 18 other soldiers.
  • In 2002, over the course of 6 weeks, 4 army wives were murdered at Fort Bragg, leading to criticism and investigation (by the Pentagon) of domestic violence on post and what the army was doing to prevent these types of situations:
    • June 11, 2002, Sergeant First Class Rigoberto Nieves, returned two days earlier from Special Forces duty in Afghanistan, shot his wife, killing her, and then took his own life.
    • On June 29, 2002, just weeks after returning from Afghanistan, another Special Forces soldier, Master Sergeant William Wright, strangled his wife Jennifer and buried her. He later committed suicide in his prison cell.
    • On July 9, 2002, Sergeant Cedric Ramon Griffin, stabbed his estranged wife, Marilyn, more than 50 times and then set her house on fire, with her children inside. Remarkably, both children escaped unharmed.
    • On July 19, 2002, the same day that Wright was arrested for murder, Sergeant First Class Brandon Floyd shot his wife Andrea to death and then took his own life.
  • On June 28, 2005, President George W. Bush gave a nationally televised speech at Fort Bragg to reaffirm the United States' mission in Iraq.
  • On April 2008, after a YouTube video was posted concerning the living conditions in Fort Bragg barracks, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Dick Cody responded, "There's no excuse." Officials at the base acknowledged there are serious problems. Ed Frawley said the Army had promised to have new barracks ready when his son's unit, part of the 82nd Airborne Division, returned. However, the construction was behind schedule, so the unit lived in the 50-year-old buildings after the unit's return. The video triggered response from US senator Elizabeth Dole to contact the secretary of the Army.
  • On July 28, 2008, President Bush approved of the execution of dishonorably discharged former Fort Bragg Army Specialist subsequently demoted to private, Ronald A. Gray, after he was court-martialed by a Ft. Bragg military court, found guilty and sentenced to death, in 1988, for multiple, brutal rapes and murders and attempted murders of military and civilian women. He is being housed in the prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. On November 19, 2008, the death sentence was approved to be carried out on December 10, 2008. The last such approval of a military execution was given by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1957. That execution was carried out in 1961.

Building Activity

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