Military in Moore
What’s That Noise?
Sounds from training and artillery practice at Fort Bragg, a critical component in the nation’s defense, sometimes disturb people living in surrounding communities. Some noises can resemble thunder. To minimize the impact and reduce noise levels, several policies are in place: There is no massed artillery fire between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily. Artillery and tank cannon firing and bombing from jet aircraft are not permitted between 10 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. During times of heavy overcast skies, Army Range Control will impose additional restrictions on firing activity to reduce noise levels.
Who Goes There?
Access to Fort Bragg is restricted, and entry often requires military decals or identification. The following unmanned gates onto the reservation are the only ones open 24 hours a day, seven days a week:
- Plank Road at King, on the extreme west side of the post.
- Wayside Road entrance to Plank, on the south border of the post.
- Morrison Bridge Road, on the north side of the post.
Motorists will subsequently need to go through a checkpoint to enter other parts of Fort Bragg. Visitors should use marked gates and be prepared for guards to search their vehicles.
The Long Street Gate is probably the most convenient for most Moore County residents.
For a full list of gates and entry requirements, visit this website: www.bragg.army.mil. Additional information is available by phone from the Access Control Section at (910) 396-1272. Fort Bragg Information: (910) 396-0011.
In November 2013, Fort Bragg changed access procedures for all non-Department of Defense (DoD) visitors.
All non-DoD visitors operating a noncommercial vehicle need to proceed to the All-American Visitor Center (VCC) located on All-American Freeway to be processed for a visitor pass.
As part of this process, a National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) check will be conducted for all persons in each vehicle entering the post. Visitors will no longer be able to enter Fort Bragg by way of the Knox Street, Randolph Street or Longstreet Road Access Control Points without first obtaining an Automated Installation Entry (AIE) card or pass.
Also as of November 2013, all commercial vehicle operators need to enter the Knox Street Truck Plaza to have their vehicle inspected and processed for an AIE pass. Checks will also be conducted for all persons in vehicles entering through the Truck Plaza.
The Longstreet ACP will remain a 24-hour alternate truck plaza as long as all personnel in the commercial vehicle have either a current AIE badge or pass. The Honeycutt Road ACP will accept commercial vehicle traffic from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m., Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. until 5 a.m., Saturday and Sunday as long as all personnel in the commercial vehicle have either a current AIE card or pass. These processes will not affect Department of Defense personnel, Common Access Card holders, retirees, family members, government contractors or personnel that already possess a current AIE card or pass from entering post in a non-commercial vehicle.
Passes for non-DoD ID card holders can be obtained for up to 10 days; DoD-sponsored visitor passes are available for up to 30 days. Potential entrants must have valid government issued identification, valid vehicle registration and know their Social Security number.
Military Has Big Impact on County
If there were an award for the most soldier-friendly community, Moore County would surely have won it by now.
Moore County has played a distinguished role in this nation’s military history. From rehearsing gliders for the D-Day landings to testing paratroopers for combat jumps, Moore County has been an essential cog in the military machine.
The county may have more top military leaders playing golf on any given day than some counties have on active duty. Among these are father of the Green Berets Bill Yarborough, and former Secretary of State and Army Chief of Staff General George Catlett Marshall, Jr. Military retirees play important roles in community life. Retired Maj. Gen. Sid Shachnow helps raise money for the local chapter of Sentinels for Freedom, which assists badly wounded warriors in making a transition to civilian life.
General “Buck” Kernan and retired Capt. Chuck Deleot work with the Patriot Foundation, which raises money each year to help military families devastated by wartime loss. Brass hats aren’t the only military residents of Moore. Marines, soldiers, sailors and air personnel—both retired and active—have children in local schools and live in local neighborhoods. They work with the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts and other community groups. Moore County borders Fort Bragg to the east and Camp Mackall to the west. The latter, which straddles the Moore and Hoke county lines, was home to gliders and Hoke county airborne troops in the Second World War and is now a major training site for future Special Forces soldiers.
Today, soldiers undergo the tough SERE (Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape) training at Camp Mackall and in other parts of the county. Helicopters drop them off in Carthage at the Gilliam-McConnell “International” Air Field, and they head into the woods from its runway’s grassy edge.
The field’s builder and owner, Roland Gilliam, dedicates much of his field to honor American heroes. His airport, the Gilliam-McConnell Airfield, bears the name of James Rogers McConnell, founder of the famed Lafayette Escadrille that fought in the First World War. A national monument to McConnell, who lost his life in France, stands on the grounds of the old county courthouse in Carthage.
In 2012, McConnell’s memorial was joined by one to Robert Hoyle Upchurch, a second lieutenant in the 23rd Fighter Group who was shot down over China in 1944. A near fullscale model of his P-40 fighter plane marks the memorial.
Local civilians also contribute to the military’s success. Moore County is one of fourteen North Carolina counties where civilian volunteers help the Special Forces train by playing roles as residents of an imaginary country called “Pineland.” This exercise helps the soldiers to “think on their feet,” an invaluable skill during deployment.
As Fort Bragg continues to expand, Moore County welcomes an increasing number of military families. Like those who came before, many are likely to “get sand in their shoes” and someday come here to stay — home at last.
Andrew Soboerio is a former intern at The Pilot. John Chappell, a former staff writer at The Pilot, contributed to the article.