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Deborah Amos: From American Public Media, this is Married to the Military, an American RadioWorks documentary. I'm Deborah Amos.

Liam Mulligan vocalizes. Jeannette Mulligan, mimicking him: Daddy's back, daddy's in Iraq. That's how he says it. Daddy's back, daddy's back. Right.

Amos: In today's volunteer military, one soldier in two is married with children.

Tabitha Minto: He was supposed to be home in October. They extended it to December. Then they extended it to March.

Jeannette: You're signing up for the military just as much as your spouse is.

Byron Minto: If she's a hundred percent against it, I couldn't really re-enlist without getting a divorce.

Amos: In the coming hour, the private world of the home front - military families and an Army town.

Chuck Fager: I think of Fayetteville as a border town between civilian America and military America ... This is a place that's a locus for the stuff that we don't want to know about.

Amos: Married to the Military from American RadioWorks. First, this news update.


Segment A

Amos: This is Married to the Military, an American RadioWorks documentary from American Public Media. I'm Deborah Amos.

The United States is making huge demands on its military people; the toughest since the Vietnam War. But the military has changed since Vietnam. Then, most soldiers were young, single men. Today, in the all-volunteer military, about half of all service people are married with children, so the burdens of fighting these wars are shared in military homes and military towns.

In Married to the Military, producer John Biewen takes us to Fort Bragg, the nation's largest Army post, and its home, Fayetteville, North Carolina, for a look inside the private world of the home front. Our main guide to military family life is Jeannette Mulligan. She's married to Sgt. Clinton Mulligan of the 82nd Airborne Division. Jeannette recorded a journal and moments from her daily life over several months.

Liam vocalizes. Jeannette, mimicking him: Daddy's back, daddy's in Iraq. That's how he says it. Daddy's back, Daddy's back. Right.

John Biewen: Jeannette Mulligan is forty. She's from Baltimore. She and her husband Clinton have been together six years. She has a 13-year-old son from a previous marriage. Then there's the two-year-old, Liam, and Olivia, who's five.

Jeannette: Watching the kids missing him is a hard thing. Olivia sometimes will say - I'm always telling the kids that their daddy loves them and their daddy misses them and he's thinking about them and he's praying for them, and every once in awhile, she'll ask me to stop telling her that because she doesn't want to think about her daddy missing her. And at night sometimes, when she says her prayers, she would always start off with, 'Dear Jesus, could you tell my daddy that I love him and this is Olivia?' And now, she just skips right past that, talks to her daddy, and she'll say, 'Dear daddy.'"

Olivia: Daddy, I love you so much and I hope you could come back in five minutes.

Jeannette: It's Friday, February 11th, and I am driving in my car. This is the only time that I have to be alone sometimes!

Biewen: Jeannette has red hair cut stylishly short. Her ears are pierced four times each. She and her family live in Fort Bragg housing. Their winding street is lined with identical tan duplexes and carports. The subdivision is named Ste. Mere Eglise, after a French town captured by 82nd Airborne paratroopers on D-Day, 1944.

Jeannette: But a thought that just came to me was that, constantly missing the spouse that's gone and not really being able to show it.

Biewen: It's early 2005 and Jeannette's husband, Sgt. Clinton Mulligan, is in Iraq for the second time since the war started. This time, his unit left in December of '04 to provide security for the upcoming Iraqi elections.

Jeannette: Stupid country songs. I get in the car and the song on the radio is, "I'm missing you and nobody knows it but me," O.K., so that got me crying. But I have to get it out of my system before I get to my friend's house, because she also has small children and a husband who's in my husband's unit, and it's kind of a sisterhood ethic that we don't get each other started.

Biewen: Jeannette is active in the Family Readiness Group for her husband's battery. It's a volunteer group sponsored by the Army for spouses to stay in touch and support one another. Clinton Mulligan is in field artillery. The Army bars women from those jobs, so all of the spouses in Jeannette's Family Readiness Group are women.

Jeannette: What is frustrating is hearing the crybabies. The ones that are just crying because they've got a three or four-month deployment, or the wives who are just ballyhooing about how hard their life is. ... Their feelings are real, I understand that. They are overwhelmed, they're frustrated, they're angry, they're sad, they're whatever. But when you become a military wife, you know what you're getting into. You're signing up for the military just as much as your spouse is. And ... my husband likes to tell the kids, "Suck it up and drive on, soldier." And that's kind of how I feel with some of the women. ... You know, come to me when you're just overwhelmed and I will give you a hug and I will hold your hand and take you through the steps ... and I'll watch your kids if you're sick and you can sleep on my couch, and that sort of thing. But you know, know when enough is enough. When you're strong enough, mentally or physically or emotionally, get back on the horse. We can't afford that luxury of just letting it all go to pot, we have people that depend on us. That's just something I was thinking of.

[hubbub]

Soldier 1: Go get your weapon.

Soldier 2: Sir. Sir!

Biewen: Fort Bragg soldiers like Jeannette Mulligan's husband do their coming and going here, at a huge corrugated steel shed about the size of a football field. It's on Pope Air Force Base, right next door to Fort Bragg. Men and women in combat uniforms sit on rows of wooden benches, most of them wearing the red beret of the 82nd Airborne. Many are surrounded by wives or husbands, and children.

Woman: Everybody say cheese!

Biewen: This day, 260 soldiers are waiting to board planes for Iraq. One young man in desert camouflage leans back against a bench holding to his chest a tiny baby in a pink sleeper. He and his wife sit side by side, not talking much. The soldier gazes at the baby.

Joseph Avery: I'm Sergeant Joseph Avery. I'm with the 44th Med[ical] Brigade. I'm just catching up with my unit that's already in Iraq. My chain of command let me stay behind so I could see her born.

Biewen: Sergeant Avery is a 29-year-old medic. His first child, Zoe Sophia, was born six weeks ago. He expects he won't see her for six months to a year.

Avery: I don't want to go but the job's got to be done and someone has to do it. So just go and spend my time over there and come home. ... I kind of want to go over there just to get some experience, because it's going help in the long run for promotions and stuff.

Biewen: Avery's wife says she doesn't want to talk about it.

Some crusty military officer of a past generation is supposed to have said, "If the Army wanted you to have a wife, soldier, it would have issued you one." These days, military officials bring up the quote only to say that Army is gone.

Al Aycock: What I'd like to take you into here is the Tolson Youth Center.

Biewen: Colonel Al Aycock gives me a driving and walking tour of Fort Bragg. It looks a little like the old Soviet bloc with its low-slung, functional buildings painted in shades of brown. The military is noted for operating like a socialist society, providing complete healthcare coverage and housing assistance. But to keep its volunteer employees happy, the Army has spawned dozens of new programs for spouses and children.

Aycock: The Army has tried to adapt - I know the Marine Corps, the Navy and Air Force have also done the same things - of understanding that you just don't re-enlist a soldier, that you really enlist a soldier but you re-enlist the whole family.

Biewen: As Garrison Commander, Colonel Aycock is effectively the mayor of Fort Bragg. He's in charge of meeting the needs of 30,000 people, soldiers and their families, who live on the post. Aycock shows off Fort Bragg's youth center, with its two gyms, martial arts and dance studios, and indoor pool.

Aycock: This is a fantastic facility for the kids that after school and on weekends is used to its maximum capacity.

Biewen: A few years ago the Army converted an old building into the Family Readiness Center.

Aycock: What you see over here is a computer lab where there'll be computers set up so that the families who don't have computer access can come in and make contact. ... It doesn't necessarily have to be somebody deployed overseas. It could be they want to tell grandmother and grandfather that the child just had a birthday and they wanted to share some pictures.

Biewen: Hanging on the wall, there's an array of flyers about Army programs. You can get help managing the family checkbook, preparing for a soldier's deployment or return, or finding a counselor to deal with stress.

Tabitha Minto: A lot of people can't handle the situation. Like I know I can't. That's why my husband is getting out.

Biewen: Tabitha Minto is from Hendersonville, in the North Carolina mountains. She and her husband, specialist Byron Minto, now live next to Fort Bragg in Fayetteville. Military volunteers disproportionately come from Southern and Western states, from working-class backgrounds, and from small towns. Byron Minto joined the Army in 2000 looking for a secure job. Tabitha never liked his decision, even before 9/11.

Tabitha: When I found out about September 11, what had happened, I was picking out my wedding dress. So I pretty much - I pretty much freaked out. ... We kind of knew it would be downhill from there. I mean, after that you know there's going to be war and a lot of stuff going on.

Biewen: Tabitha and Byron got married in October of 2001. When I first meet her, it's May of 2004, and she's still just 20 years old. She's having lunch with a friend at a Mexican restaurant on Bragg Boulevard in Fayetteville. Tabitha and Byron have a 15-month-old son, Cameron. Byron has been in Iraq with the 35th Signal Brigade for 13 months. Before it became clear that the war would be a long struggle, the Army promised soldiers their tours in Iraq would last no more than a year.

Tabitha: He was supposed to come home several times. It was supposed to be a six-month deployment. So he was supposed to come home in October. They extended it to December. Then they extended it to March, and then finally to April to make the year. And then a week before he was supposed to leave Iraq, he got extended for three months.

Biewen: That latest extension came just a couple of weeks ago. Tabitha fights back tears repeatedly. She's angry at the Army for breaking its promise, but she says she also got mad at her husband. She fought with him over the phone, wanting him to come home, especially since their baby is having minor surgery next week. But Byron can't take time off like a civilian. He can't quit his job without risking jail time.

Tabitha: It was hard for me to understand that, and that put a lot of strain on our relationship. Because I felt like, you know, something has to be able to be done. Why can't you talk to somebody and why can't you just come home? But like, really, he can't. ... They can do whatever they want with him.

Heidi Sedek: See, they're making her cry again.

Biewen: That's Tabitha's friend, Heidi Sedek. She's also married to a soldier.

Heidi: It takes a special kind of someone to make it through military deployments and not cheat or not do the crazy things that you hear couples doing.

Tabitha: I'd say three-fourths of the guys that I know over there have done stuff like that. They e-mail their wives out of the blue, "I want a divorce."

Heidi: Or even the other way around. Like a lot of guys have gotten "Dear John" letters. My husband was telling me, this guy was on the phone, they saw him, they had this area where they had phones. And this is just a funny story, man. He got off the phone and he just started throwing stuff around. They're like, "What happened?" And he was like, "My wife is cheating on me and the guy she's cheating on me with wants to know where my hammer is." And he wasn't even mad that she was cheating on him, it was just that he was using his tools.

Tabitha: That's horrible.

Biewen: Tabitha doesn't seem to find the story very funny. One study found that long deployments can double the divorce rate among military families.

Jeannette: It's Friday, February 18. I'm on the computer and I just got a message from the colonel over in Iraq that one of our guys was killed.

Biewen: Jeannette Mulligan shows no sign she's considering divorce. But just a week after she talked with frustration about the "crybabies," she finds herself struggling to cope.

Jeannette: I just looked at the official letter and just was in shock and just stared and thought to myself something I could never utter to another person, and that is, will the next one ...Will the next round hit my husband, hit my soldier. But then I just, I've been looking for him everyday online, ... on the instant messenger or get some e-mails or something and I just send him messages everyday. But they're having trouble with their computer, and I keep saying, "Honey, honey," and typing in, "where are you?" ... And ... you know I'm patriotic and I'm supportive of our president and I'm supportive of our military, but right now, my true feelings are that I've had enough. I've had enough of this war. This family needs their daddy. I need my husband. I've had it with him being gone.

Amos: Coming up, a look at one city's marriage to the military.

Fager: I think of Fayetteville as a border town between civilian America and military America. ... This is a place that's a locus for the stuff that we don't want to know about.

Amos: I'm Deborah Amos. You're listening to Married to the Military from American RadioWorks. Our program continues in just a moment, from American Public Media.


Segment B

Amos: This is Married to the Military, an American RadioWorks documentary from American Public Media. I'm Deborah Amos.

When people join the military, they strike a complicated bargain for their families. They get job security and opportunity, but also danger and disruption in their lives. In a similar way, towns that host military bases get mixed blessings. Fayetteville, North Carolina is home to the Army's biggest post by population with 60,000 military and civilian employees. Soldiers and their families make up half the city's population.

Fort Bragg's $2 billion annual payroll fuels the local economy, but Fayetteville struggles with image problems, and real problems, that come with being a military town.

Here's more of John Biewen's look at the home front. We begin again with Army spouse Jeannette Mulligan.

Jeannette: This is my husband's military album. This is "Home is where the Army Sends Us." So these are the different places he was, at Fort Sill, Fort Rich, Fort Bragg.

Biewen: Jeannette's husband, Sergeant Clinton Mulligan, was sent to Fort Bragg in the summer of 2003, then to Iraq. Jeannette and the three children lived off-post in Fayetteville for a few months, but the family jumped at the first chance to move inside the gates of Fort Bragg. Jeannette says she does some shopping in Fayetteville, but she doesn't think much of the city.

Jeannette: What's surrounding Fort Bragg, the majority of where we travel, is just very generic and non-descript and dingy to me. My dad calls the, right outside the, the "second front." You know, where it's just strip joints and bars. Every post has it, but it just seems like in Fayetteville, it goes on longer.

Roy Parker: Bragg Boulevard, that seven-mile strip of ... go-go joints and pawn shops and all this stuff.

Biewen: Roy Parker is a former editor of the Fayetteville Observer. He still writes a column on local history for the newspaper. He drives me down the commercial strip that runs from the gates of Fort Bragg southeast to downtown Fayetteville. The street still has plenty of pawn shops and strip clubs, but Parker says it's family-friendly compared to the early '70s when he moved to town.

Parker: When I got here, there were four outdoor theaters lined up. ... And you know they showed sleaze night and day for the Army. ... But it changed. Not overnight, but it's changed.

Biewen: Fayetteville leaders have worked to remove the seediest parts of Army life from public display. During the Vietnam War, bar-hopping and drug-using draftees earned Fayetteville a bad reputation and a nickname that stuck: Fayettenam. Marshall Pitts is the Mayor of Fayetteville.

Marshall Pitts: There used to be this, the military and the city of Fayetteville often had a two-ships-passing-in-the-night kind of mentality. ... and a lot of the residents who were native to the city of Fayetteville viewed the military with some disdain.

Biewen: That disdain had to do with the partying habits of young soldiers and their tendency to date local daughters. Fayetteville leaders say the more professional, volunteer military has helped. Now, more soldiers come to town pushing strollers and looking for a church instead of a brothel. In turn, the city has embraced its military identity.

[train bell]

Biewen: Next to the handsome old railway station, where topless bars used to stand, is Fayetteville's most ambitious new tourist attraction: the $24 million Airborne and Special Operations Museum. Fort Bragg is home to the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, and Special Operations and Special Forces units.

The museum's huge lobby is enclosed in glass with a soaring, five-story ceiling. You can't help but look up at the two uniformed mannequins suspended overhead.

John Duvall: The first visual element that strikes you is a World War II paratrooper, fully deployed, he's coming down under an actual World War II parachute.

Biewen: John Duvall is the museum's director.

Duvall: And right behind him, in fact, is a modern U.S. Army Special Operations soldier coming down under a different kind of parachute, a modern RAM air parachute.

Biewen: That's just a warm-up. Inside, the museum's sprawling gallery exhibits trace the history of the Army airborne.

Film: Airborne Command was established at Fort Bragg in March, 1942.

Biewen: There's a tank on display, and several Army helicopters and airplanes. The body of a C-47 aircraft lets you imagine yourself a paratrooper.

Duvall: We actually have a piece of fuselage of the aircraft here, and the visitor can pass through this. They hear overhead the jump commands of the jump master.

Recorded voice: Equipment check. OK, OK, OK, Get ready! Move! Go! Go! Go!

Biewen: Local people built the museum with government grants and private donations, and now run it jointly with the Army. It's hard to imagine a louder statement: this is an Army town.

News Report: This is Fayetteville's Online News minute for February 19. ... Think Americana, think Fayetteville.

Biewen: In early 2005, a coalition of city and county leaders announced a new step in their campaign to fix Fayetteville's image.

News Report: Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President John Meroski wants to see a marketing campaign to portray Fayetteville as America's most patriotic city. There have been several suggestions, such as daily parades, tax breaks for flag wavers, and requiring all restaurants to serve apple pie.

Biewen: The city hopes to capitalize on its big military presence, and its history. Local people played roles on both sides of the revolutionary war, and the town was named after the French hero Lafayette. At the end of the Civil War, Sherman's Army came through town and burned an arsenal. John Meroski of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

John Meroski: We had hired a consultant and the consultant came back and said, "You know, you've got one big obvious thing that's a commonality to all your communities and constituents, and that is this patriotism." And they said, "You know, that can really become your community's deliverable when you come here."

Biewen: Almost everybody agrees it will be tough to change Fayetteville's image. Chuck Fager is a kind of resident pacifist in this military town. He's Director of Quaker House. The group runs a hotline to help service members who want to get out of the military.

Chuck Fager: It's the truth, although some people I know around here don't like to hear it, it's the truth that people still line up to stay out of Fayetteville.

Biewen: Fager argues an Army town can never be an attractive destination for most people who have no direct contact with the military and like it that way.

Fager: I think of Fayetteville as a border town between civilian America and military America. Americans by and large like to keep our relationships to our military ... on a very highly ritualized and ceremonial basis. We want the victories, we want the parades; we don't want the nitty-gritty. ... This is a place that's a locus for the stuff that we don't want to know about.

Biewen: A survey by the Fayetteville Observer found that one in four local residents knew someone personally who's been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Almost 40 percent know a service member who's been wounded.

The trauma that sometimes comes with military life takes other forms, too.

News Report: I'm Mary Hartnett with WUNC News. Children who live near North Carolina's largest military bases are twice as likely to be murdered by their parents than those who live in other parts of the state. That's according to a new report released this morning by the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute. Those counties include Onslow and Cumberland, home to Fort Bragg and Camp LeJeune.

News Report: The number of children abused or neglected in Cumberland County rose last fiscal year. ... Abuse or neglect was substantiated in cases involving about 21-hundred children..

Biewen: To some in Fayetteville, these recent reports on child abuse felt like piling on. Already, the city faced constant questions about domestic homicides involving Fort Bragg soldiers. In one six-week spate in the summer of 2002, four military wives were murdered, all allegedly by their soldier husbands just back from Afghanistan. Two of the four soldiers also killed themselves.

Military families are often at high risk for spouse and child abuse even before you add stressful deployments to war zones, says Pam McEvoy of the Child Advocacy Center of Fayetteville.

Pam McEvoy: We have parents that are very young, we have parents that don't have the support system of a family or someone to help them when things get stressful.

Biewen: McEvoy praises Fort Bragg's leaders for facing the problems head-on. Garrison Commander Al Aycock says the Army already had an array of counseling programs before the spate of domestic killings, but not enough soldiers and their families were using them.

Aycock: What we found was there were people that were unaware of some of the programs that were available. ... When in fact we had chaplains, we had Army Community Service we had Army OneSource. ... We have done a campaign to try to make sure people are aware of those. We've sent speakers out to Family Readiness Groups.

Biewen: Aycock says the Army also got better at packaging the help that it offers its people. For example, by changing the name of a counseling group for soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress.

Aycock: Well, when you call it the "Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome Group," how many people are going to volunteer to do that? So we did a simple thing: we changed the name to "Soldiers Helping Soldiers." And we all of a sudden had a huge increase in the number of soldiers who came to that particular group. ... We used to have a smaller program that was called "Boot Camp for Daddies." It was trying to teach a father how to take care of his child. Well, if you think about it, soldiers don't really have a real attractive view of their boot camp. So we just changed the name to, you know, "Babies 101 for Dads," and then we had an increase in the number of people who came to that.

Biewen: Getting good attendance at the dads' class could save lives. McEvoy of the Child Advocacy Center says Fort Bragg and the surrounding communities have higher than average rates of shaken baby syndrome.

McEvoy: Babies that are shaken or thrown against the wall or on the floor of that type of thing. And a lot of people just don't know not to shake the baby.

Biewen: People in Fayetteville know that lots of outsiders, especially in more upscale cities, see their town as undesirable and blame the military. But some people in town say the big military presence has had positive social effects, too. Take race, and the example set by Fort Bragg.

Roy Parker: The Army - black and white - integrated back in the '50s. Fort Bragg was one of the first places that took place, too.

Biewen: Former newspaper editor Roy Parker points out the military ended racial segregation well before most of Southern society did. By 1951, Fort Bragg ran its own segregated schools for the children of soldiers; the white kids in a spacious building, the black children squeezed into a smaller one.

Parker: The sweet lady who was the principal of the white school, she said, "This don't work. Those black kids are sitting over there in that little thing and I've got all this room over here." So she integrated them. Classroom by classroom. She caught hell for it, but we love to say that old Mildred Poole integrated the Fort Bragg schools before the Supreme Court or anybody else said do it.

Biewen: That is, three years before the Brown decision, and more than a decade before segregation ended in the Fayetteville public schools.

If you ask the men at the mostly-black VFW Post 6018 in Fayetteville, there doesn't seem to be any doubt that the military's been a welcome influence.

Phillip Allen: Black and white got along on post. But off post, that was a different story, man.

Biewen: Phillip Allen is a 54-year-old Vietnam Veteran. His father, James Allen, was a mess sergeant at Fort Bragg after World War II, so Phillip grew up there in the 1950s and '60s.

Phillip Allen: We used to go to the movies every Saturday, us kids. ... Who was the one that had the spaceship? ... Flash Gordon.

Biewen: The father and son remember going to movie theaters during the Jim Crow years in Fayetteville.

James Allen: And the blacks had to be in a balcony upstairs.

Phillip Allen: We couldn't go in the front door. We had to go in the side door!

James Allen: The side door. ... And they went upstairs.

Phillip Allen: On the balcony.

James Allen: And the whites were downstairs.

Biewen Allen: And, by contrast, on Fort Bragg.

Phillip Allen: I think the main movie house was on main post, wasn't it, Sarge? Across from Hedrick Stadium. We Blacks and whites always went to that same movie and we all got along. We'd whoop, hollered and everything else, you know what I mean?

Biewen: When black students from Fayetteville State sat in at segregated lunch counters in the early '60s, small groups of soldiers, Black and white, went downtown to support them. Nobody claims Fayetteville has solved racial inequality, but many argue it's more open and tolerant today than it would have been without the military. The town elected its first Black mayor, Marshall Pitts, in 2001.

Marshall Pitts: When I was elected mayor, it was another sign to folks across the state who have previously seen us in a negative light, said, "Well, you know, maybe things are happening down there. They're becoming more progressive as a community."

Biewen: Over the decades, thanks to the U.S. military's global reach, soldiers have brought the world to Fayetteville.

Announcer: Here they come. Ladies and gentlemen, our Host Nation: The Dominican Republic!

Biewen: Every September since the late 1970s, Fayetteville has held an International Folk Festival on its downtown streets. There's food, costumes and traditional dance from countries across the world.

Pitts: It makes a big statement about our diversity. A lot of people may not realize it, but Fayetteville is one of the most diverse cities in the entire country.

Biewen: Mayor Pitts.

Pitts: We have over 82 countries, 82 cultures represented in our community. So ... that's because our military men and women, they happen to go all across the world and fall in love, so that's a good thing.

Biewen: A highlight of the festival is a parade of nations, a miniature Olympic opening ceremony through the town square. This time, about 30 nations are represented, from Argentina to Vietnam. The largest delegations come from places with big U.S. Army posts: Japan and Okinawa, Korea, the Philippines, Panama.

Announcer: "Viva Puerto Rico!"

Biewen: Diversity among the people of Fayetteville extends to opinions about the Iraq War.

Protesters: "Hell no, we won't go! ... We won't kill for Texaco!"

Biewen: In March, 2005, on the second anniversary of the start of the war, about 3,000 people join an anti-war march and rally in Fayetteville. It's billed as the biggest anti-war demonstration in town since 1971 when Jane Fonda came here to protest the Vietnam War.

Caroline Mabry: My name is Caroline Mabry and my sign says, "Military Brat for Peace." My father was in the military and he died during the Vietnam conflict. And my brother is in Iraq, has just gotten back from ten months in Iraq, and they're already trying to send him back.

Biewen: Mabry drove down from Raleigh for the demonstration. Some others came from Chapel Hill, Washington D.C. and beyond.

Woman: Shame! Shame on you!

Biewen: A couple hundred counter-demonstrators stand across the street from the peace rally. Many dismiss the anti-war protestors as outside rabble rousers. Chris Dodds is a veteran from nearby Lee County.

Chris Dodds: And I disagree with them being here today because D.C. is the place to protest policy. ... Write letters, whatever they need to do, but they don't need to be protesting in the street in a military community where there's no policy made, and just upsetting the wives and children of these veterans that have people deployed overseas.

Biewen: But some of the protesters are military spouses.

Kara Hollingsworth: I'm not an outsider, an agitator, or a traitor to my country. I'm a 25-year-old mother and I'm married to a soldier. My husband is on his second tour in Iraq.

Biewen: Kara Hollingsworth's husband, specialist Dante Hollingsworth, has been assigned to Fort Bragg since 2002. She says she hesitated to speak at the protest.

Hollingsworth: This is my community, I care what they think. I care about whether they're offended, I care about not needling them unnecessarily, you know.

Biewen: But Hollingsworth says she's discovered many others in local military families who oppose the Iraq war. She says her husband is keeping his promise to the Army, to simply do his job.

Hollingsworth: So that's why I do this work, because he may not be able to say anything. But I'm not in the Army. And it's kind of like a mother with her child. ... I'm gonna stick up for my family, for my husband, for my baby. And I don't care if it's against the president or this whole town. I wouldn't ask another mother to stay silent and not defend her family, so nobody should ask that of me.

Biewen: In fact, 44 percent of local residents polled by the Fayetteville Observer in June 2005 said the war in Iraq was not worth fighting. That opposition was just slightly lower than in national polls.

Parker: Fayetteville is a Army town. Got to be classed as an Army town no matter how hard we try to do all these other things and we're trying very hard.

Biewen: Roy Parker says Fayetteville chose an industry and an identity back in 1918. That's when it landed what was first called Camp Bragg. Then, Fayetteville was a little town on the Cape Fear River. Sort of like a young person from a working-class neighborhood who can't see many career prospects, and visits the military recruiter.

Parker: What we have to do ... is try to make it a good Army town if we can.

Amos: Still to come:

Jeannette: Today is Friday. And my husband is coming home on Easter morning at sunrise.

Amos: I'm Deborah Amos. You're listening to Married to the Military. To see photographs of Fayetteville and the Mulligan family, and to hear from Jeannette Mulligan's audio diary, visit our Web site: AmericanRadioWorks.org. You'll also find information on ordering a CD, or downloading an MP3 of this program.

Married to the Military is a production of American RadioWorks and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Major funding for American RadioWorks comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Our program continues in a moment, from American Public Media.


Segment C

Amos: This is Married to the Military, an American RadioWorks documentary from American Public Media. I'm Deborah Amos.

Military officials like to say they recruit individuals, but re-enlist families. Most soldiers won't decide to stay in the military without the support of their husbands or wives. In the last part of our program, weighing the benefits of military life against the risks and the trials.

We get back to Jeannette Mulligan, who's been waiting for her husband to return from Iraq. But first, two other women who watched their husbands leave for the war. Tabitha Minto is the young woman from Hendersonville, North Carolina. We met her in the spring of 2004 in a Mexican restaurant in Fayetteville. She decided she was "not strong enough" for the life of a military spouse, after her husband's tour in Iraq was extended beyond a full year. John Biewen picks up Tabitha's story in the fall of 2004.

Tabitha: Now my husband's home. ... And he's about to get out of the military. ... We're gonna go to school and figure out something better to do with our lives.

Biewen: Tabitha's in nursing school. Her husband, Specialist Byron Minto, is going to work every day at Fort Bragg with the 35th Signal Brigade; he's in the last days of his four-year enlistment. When that's finished, he'll use the G.I. Bill to get an electrician's degree at Fayetteville Technical Community College. Byron says early in his tour in Iraq, he came close to re-enlisting.

Byron: Because they were offering a big cash bonus.

Tabitha: A friend of ours got $10,000 for re-enlisting over there.

Byron: And that's tax free, so that's kind of hard to turn down, I guess.

Biewen: The military has increased re-enlistment bonuses during the Iraq War; soldiers in some jobs can get up to $50,000. The services are meeting their goals for re-enlistments. But new recruits are staying away, in a time of dangerous and repeated deployments to the Middle East. In the first eight months of the 2005 fiscal year, the Army missed its recruiting goals by more than 15 percent. The Pentagon's stop-loss policy has kept thousands of soldiers on active duty after completing their enlistments. The policy won't affect Byron.

Byron: I just feel like I'm really lucky that I got back at a time when they were actually going to let us out. I just couldn't imagine leaving for another year and missing my son grow up.

Cameron: Dada!

Byron: Come here. I didn't even get a hug!

Biewen: Byron and Tabitha's son, Cameron, was two months old when Byron was sent to Iraq for what turned out to be a 15-month tour. That long separation soured the couple on the military, especially Tabitha.

Tabitha: It's just not the life for us, really. Not for me anyway. It's too hard on families in my opinion.

Biewen: Byron says he's proud to have served his country. He says the Army helped him grow up, not to mention the college money and a V.A. loan that helped him and Tabitha buy their ranch house. Byron was 23 and delivering pizzas when he signed up. But officials at Fort Bragg will tell you that a married soldier's decision to re-enlist, or not, is usually a joint one. The spouse often tips the scales.

Byron: You have to put family first, and if she's 100 percent against it, then I couldn't really re-enlist without, you know, getting a divorce. So I decided to stick with my wife.

Biewen: Maxine Crockett has been both an Army wife and a soldier. Maxine spent 13 years active duty in the Army before bad knees forced her out in 2002. Her husband, Staff Sgt. Ricky Crockett of the 51st Signal Battalion, left Fort Bragg in the spring of 2003.

Maxine Crockett: It's something that I kind of got used to. ... So when he went to Iraq I really didn't pay it any mind. ... I said, well, it's only a year for him. He'll be back.

Biewen: Dual military couples like the Crocketts have become much more common in the volunteer military; the army alone has 20,000 such couples. During her career, Maxine served as an Army cook in Saudi Arabia, Bosnia, and other places around the world. Once, she spent 14 months away in Korea, while Ricky was posted at Fort Bragg.

Maxine: When I came back in 2000 he was gone already, he was in the field. I had to end up taking a taxi from the airport to get home. In 2002 they decide they're going to send him to Korea. ... We never end up going at the same time.

Biewen: Maxine's daughter, Marvise, was born in 1990. When she was six months old, Maxine and Ricky both got sent to the first Iraq War. They left Marvise with Ricky's parents and sisters in rural Georgia. Other deployments followed. Maxine says by the time Marvise was four, she felt more at home with her Georgia relatives. So even though Maxine and Ricky were both assigned to Hawaii at the time, young Marvise insisted on living with her grandparents.

Maxine: So we finally did decide to go on leave, we brought her back. And soon as we got home to Georgia, she told us, "Y'all can go now." She tried to put our clothes on the porch because she thought we were going to take back. So we left her in Georgia. ... That has always been her home.

...

As you see there's a lot of, I guess, farm buildings, where they crop their tobacco, ... cotton.

Biewen: It's just before Christmas, 2004. Maxine's in her husband's hometown, Broxton, Georgia. She drove down to spend the holidays with her husband's family and her daughter, Marvise, who's 14 now and living with her grandfather. The elder Mr. Crockett is a retired tenant farmer. Maxine says her husband's family was proud when Ricky joined the Army after finishing high school in 1984.

Maxine: That was his escape from, I guess, working in the fields, being a farmer. ... And to our left is the cemetery. ... This is where Rick and his mother is buried at, they're side by side.

Biewen: Ricky Crockett was just shy of his 38 birthday when a roadside bomb hit the vehicle he was driving in Baghdad. Maxine says the color photograph of Ricky embedded in his headstone was cropped from a picture of the two of them in their Army uniforms.

Maxine: I decided to put a heart-shaped headstone on there with his picture. ... We had it engraved, "In the line of duty, in Baghdad, Iraq, January the 11, 2004. Wife Maxine and Daughter, Marvise."

Biewen: Maxine says the teenager, Marvise, took her father's death hard, but only showed real emotion at his funeral. After that, she says, Marvise seemed to harden. She doesn't like talking about her father's death. Marvise made herself scarce when she heard a radio producer was coming to Broxton.

Maxine: Right now she hasn't come to reality that her dad is - that her dad is not coming - she knows that he's gone, but ... everybody does it in a different way.

Biewen: For a while after her father died, Marvise lived with Maxine in North Carolina. But Maxine sent Marvise to Georgia, to be near the people who raised her; her grandfather and her aunts.

Maxine: It's easier on her if she breaks to be close to family. Me, I will be OK, but I'm looking out for the best for her.

Biewen: Maxine says if she had it to do over again, she would still join the Army. She thinks her husband would too, even though he gave his life as a soldier. Ricky had recently re-enlisted for two more years. He planned to retire in 2006. Just under half of the 1,700 service members killed in Iraq so far were married.

Jeannette: Today is Friday, it is Good Friday. ... And my husband is coming home on Easter morning at sunrise. Right now, I'm just making muffins for my clan, but later we'll be making cookies and stuff for the soldiers for when they get off the plane.

Biewen: Jeannette Mulligan has almost made it through her husband's second deployment to Iraq. This time, she was a single mother for four months. Josiah, her 13-year-old son from her first marriage, did help with his little sister and brother.

Josiah: Sometimes I clean up their messes, or if she just needs time, ... I usually take the kids and watch a movie or something, do something with them so that it'll give her time to relax

Biewen: Josiah shoots baskets in a park near his family's home on Fort Bragg. He has dark hair and wears a purple football jersey. He plans on a career as an NFL quarterback, not a soldier or a basketball player.

Josiah's step-father, Sgt. Clinton Mulligan, came home from Iraq once before, a year ago, after spending seven months there with his field artillery unit.

Josiah: Last time when he came back from the deployment, I used to take judo and it's at a police training center. And when he got out of the car, he heard them at the range, boom-boom-boom, and he was like, in the mode, he snapped into it, he thought someone was going to - you know. But ... yeah, we'll just try to get back to normal and, you know, hope things are all right, hope he doesn't have any, like, mental problems about thinking about the war or whatever, just try to get him to think more about home and ... family.

Jeannette: OK. Are you guys excited?

Olivia: I'm not because I'm not excited about my dress.

Jeannette: Not excited about your dress? ... Vivie, you look beautiful! Daddy's gonna want to see his girls looking like girls and his boys looking like boys!

...

It's Sunday morning, March 27, and 6:30. ... And we are driving like maniacs. ... We cannot let him get off that plane without seeing us, and all the hard work we put into these signs.

Jeannette: Daddy's up there. Look, Liam, what's that?

Olivia: I don't see anything.

Jeannette: I just saw an airplane.

[screams, cheers and jet engine]

Biewen: It's a cool, gray Easter morning back at Pope Air Force Base, next to Fort Bragg. Several hundred soldiers come off a commercial jumbo jet onto the tarmac. They're in desert camouflage and red berets, rifles strapped to their backs. They march in formation into the big steel shed where they said goodbye to their families four months ago.

Jeannette: I can't find my husband because they all look alike.

Biewen: Jeannette and the three kids wait behind a rope line with a couple of Jeannette's best friends. Their husbands are also somewhere among the identical-looking soldiers standing in straight lines.

Jeannette: Do you see daddy? Do you see daddy anywhere?

Biewen: As a 20-piece Army band plays, tears stream down Jeannette's face. For a few moments, she marches in place.

Man on bullhorn: All right, fall out. Take the rope down, come down and meet them.

Jeannette: Take the rope down, oh my God! O.K. you guys, keep an eye on each other! ... I don't see him!

Biewen: After a long minute, Clinton Mulligan sneaks up and embraces his wife from behind.

Clinton: I'm right here.

Jeannette: [scream]

Liam vocalizes

Clinton: Watch out, watch out. Hold it.

...

Just happy to be back. ... Seeing the kids and floating around on cloud nine.

Biewen: During this deployment, Sgt. Mulligan's battery was mostly in Baghdad and Mosul guarding forward operating bases. He says it was more boring than frightening.

This probably won't be his last tour in a war zone.

Clinton: For right now, I see myself staying in the military for about 20 years. I like to think of myself as being hard core. I like to better myself.

Biewen: Clinton sees the military as a good way to support a family, and a mission. His father was a Navy man. Clinton says he grew up being taught the value of sacrifice.

Clinton: And that the way the universe works is what you give out, you're going to get back ten-fold. So ... I try and give. So far it's been coming back to me pretty nicely. ... I mean, you look around, what, surround sound, big TV. You know, car, family, kids, big house. Everything that I could possibly want, you know.

Biewen: A sergeant at Clinton's level earns about $26,000 a year plus combat bonuses, health coverage, and free housing on post. Jeannette says she likes the job security. Still, marrying a soldier took a lot of getting used to, even though she grew up in a military family.

Jeannette: I know my Dad had told me when I got married that on the I.D. card where it said, "property of the United States Army," they're not talking about the card, they're talking about the soldier on that card. And that's something that - I had a hard time coming into this, and my dad told me I had to stop thinking like a civilian.

Biewen: Jeannette says she supports her husband's career. She wants to help him relax after his time in a war zone. But she needs a break, too.

Jeannette: The first day that I got to sleep in and the kids didn't wake me up and daddy had let the dogs out and fed them and fed the kids and changed diapers and did that whole little morning thing, it was just a small thing but boy did it make a world of difference. Sometimes when you're strong you don't realize how much you're carrying until you're not carrying it anymore; until somebody comes up alongside you and says, "Hey, let me take part of that."

Amos: I'm Deborah Amos. The burden of fighting America's wars used to be shared more widely. Almost anyone's son could be drafted. Americans expected higher taxes during wartime - maybe even rationing. Now, our wars go on without touching most of us directly. The nation's 1.4 million service members - active duty, guard, and reserve - constitute a small sliver of society. In military communities, wives, husbands, and children send off their soldiers. They wait until they come home...and send them off again.

Host: Married to the Military was produced by John Biewen. It was edited by Catherine Winter. Mixing by Tom Mudge. Production assistance from Ellen Guettler, Marta Berg, and Ben Schmidt. Web production by Ochen Kaylan. Senior Producer is Sasha Aslanian. Project Director, Misha Quill. The Executive Editor is Stephen Smith. The Executive Producer, Bill Buzenberg. I'm Deborah Amos.

To see statistics on military families and photo essays by Christopher Sims of the Center for Documentary Studies, visit our Web site: AmericanRadioWorks.org. You'll also find an archive of American RadioWorks documentaries.

Major funding for American RadioWorks comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

American Public Media.


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