Fort Bragg Soldiers make life sweeter for surrendered pets
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A dozen Soldiers from the Fort Bragg chapter of the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club volunteered July 31 for yard chores at the Raeford no-kill animal shelter, "The Haven - Friends for Life." By coming out to the shelter, the Soldiers were contributing to the community, said Sgt. 1st Class Kwame A. Pettus, who is assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division. The club is one of the most prestigious societies in the Army, and its members must pass at least two selection boards. The club celebrates the principles of Audie Murphy. Candidates are compared to Murphy, America's most decorated warrior, who lead from the front and took care of his Soldiers and their Families, Pettus said. "Civilians do so much to support the Army, it is important for Soldiers to remember to give something back," he said. Sergeant 1st Class Jeanette L. Birkholz, the chapter president, said the club members have been reaching out to organizations like The Haven in the Fort Bragg area to fulfill the ideals of and raise awareness of the club. "By coming out to The Haven, the members get to do good work for others and let more people know about the club," she said. Birkholz, who is the non-commissioned officer in charge of the XVIII Airborne Corps' trial defense office, said the club intends to have a long-term relationship with the shelter, where she found two dogs for her own family. The shelter be gan as a retirement farm, said Stephen J. Spear, a retired college professor who runs the facility with his wife, Linden. Over the years, a number of people would drop off dogs and cats on their grounds and the couple would take them in and find them new homes, Spear said . The shelter now processes 20 to 30 adoptions per weekend, both at the shelter and in the small area donated by the PetSmart store in Fayetteville, he said. In 1997, after they had depleted their savings, Spear incorporated as a non-profit organization, he said. Spear said, today, the shelter houses about 400 dogs and 400 cats with a full-service veterinary clinic and grooming stations in the shelter's 55-stable barn. Among the projects the club members worked on was building four houses for cats, spreading gravel in the dog cages and preparing pads to be poured with concrete, Spear said. "It means so much for me to have the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club here," he said. "They are able to do in one day, what it would take me weeks." Birkholz said the club will return to the shelter to help renovate the building housing dozens of cats in cages with its own grooming stations and air conditioning. Spear said what is critical to the shelter's mission is their commitment to put down the animals who take up residence there. Most shelters will hold a stray for three days before putting it to sleep, he said. "In the case of an 'owner surrender,' they will kill it the same day." In North Carolina, there are 11,000 cats and dogs put to sleep every year, and the regulators are putting pressure on the no-kill shelters to upgrade facilities, he said. About half of the dogs and cats are dropped off by military Families from Fort Bragg because of the transfers and the long deployments, he said. "When you think about it, it is hard to find someone to watch your pet for 15 or 18 months and it is too much to ask a wife to look after the kids and on top everything else take care of the pet," he said. "It is really hard to see Special Forces guys crying in the parking lot as they leave their dog behind," Spear said.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - As the thunderstorm clouds rolled by and the heat and humidity began to rise, the XVIII Airborne Corps welcomed three generals to the unit with a 13 artillery cannon salute at the Main Post Parade Field Aug. 5. Major Gen. Rodney O. Anderson, Brig. Gen. Michael X. Garrett, and Canadian Brig. Gen. J.C.G. (Christian) Juneau were presented the Howitzer brass casings commemorating their ceremony.

"We are very fortunate to have Rodney, Michael and Christian joining our team," said Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. "The chief of staff of the American Army hand picks generals and puts them in (these) positions and the defense chief of the Canadian forces, hand picks generals to come to the United States, so you all come with tremendous resumes," said Helmick.

"It is my honor to join Fort Bragg, the XVIII Airborne Corp and the supporting communities," Anderson said to the audience. "It is really good to be home."
Anderson, a native of South Carolina, is the new XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg deputy commanding general. He comes from a Washington D.C. position as the director of staff, G-3/5/7. Other positions he has also held include command at battery, battalion, and brigade levels and staff assignments at the battery through joint staff levels.

"Rodney has been at Fort Bragg for a long time and has deployed from Fort Bragg to Afghanistan," Helmick said. "So the Chief of Staff got it right - you can't get any better than having Rodney Anderson serve as the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg deputy."

Garrett, a native of Ohio, will be serving as the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg chief of staff. His most recent duty was as the deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. He has also served as commander at the platoon, company, battalion and brigade levels and staff assignments at company through corps level. Garrett has served two tours at Fort Bragg and deployed to Afghanistan from Fort Bragg.

"I cannot say this about many places in the Army, but we are absolutely thrilled to be home. We have very few roots in the Army and as we were discussing where the Garrett Family would be going next, the only place we could all get excited about was right here," said Garrett. "So, I too am thankful and mindful of the significance, honor and awesome responsibilities that I have in the position I serve," he added.

"Michael has a distinguished list of officers who have served in his position before, I'll name off just a few," said Helmick with a smile. "Lindsey, McNeal, Petraeus, Huggins, Vines and that's an impressive line of guys to follow - no pressure. I know you'll do well, Michael. Welcome."

Juneau is a native of Quebec, Canada, who joined the Canadian Forces in 1983. He has accepted duties as the deputy commanding general of operations for the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg.
After thanking the audience for joining the generals on such a hot afternoon, Juneau joked, "I can assure you, being in Canada less than 24 hours ago - this is quite warm."

Juneau comes to his position after serving as the commander of the Canadian Maneuver Training Center. He has also held various positions, including instructor at the Infantry School, personal assistant to the vice chief of defense Secretary, adjutant, operations officer and company commander.

"Now let me put this in perspective for all of you. There are 53 generals in the Canadian Army, and only 34 brigadiers," Helmick said to the audience. "So the Canadian defense chief sent his best to Fort Bragg."
"I am deeply honored to serve with the Soldiers of the prestigious XVIII Airborne Corps," Juneau said.
He added that he looked forward to the responsibilities that lie ahead and was confident that his 27 years of Canadian experience would allow him to handle them exceptionally.
Juneau joked, referring to a bet the generals had about who would have the shortest speech. "Who has the time' Was I the quickest'" he said.

Fort Bragg is the only installation with three, three-star commands; XVIII Airborne Corps, Joint Special Operation Command, and U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Fort Bragg will be inheriting another three-star command, the U.S. Army Reserve Command and then a four-star command, Forces Command, for a total of 39 general officers assigned to Fort Bragg. About the same time as FORSCOM and USARC's arrival, Fort Bragg will also inherit Pope Air Force Base. Helmick reiterated that Fort Bragg really is the center of the universe.

"When you hear people talk, they say Fort Bragg is becoming the Pentagon of the South," Helmick joked. "I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing."
Helmick explained the upcoming deployments and the support and relationship between the 11 surrounding counties of Fort Bragg. He thanked the community leaders for joining them at the ceremony and reiterated his pride in what the city representatives and Fort Bragg's leaders have accomplished in providing support to one another.

"So Rodney, Mike, and Christian, I know your ruck sacks are packed and you're ready to go. And I have to tell you, I'm pretty happy about you guys joining the team," Helmick said. "It's been pretty lonely around the command group these past seven months. So when we say we're glad to welcome you to the corps, we're not just glad - we are ecstatic."

Page last updated Fri August 13th, 2010 at 14:54