Nearly 6,500 soldiers from North Carolina have been sent to the middle east, and more are scheduled to leave. While this might be a news bullet or a distant concern for many fencing clubs, for the All-American Fencing Academy, this hits home.
The All-American Fencing Academy is in the heart of Fayetteville where Fort Bragg also calls home. Fort Bragg is home of the Airborne and Special Operations and is often called “the center of the military universe.” When the world calls 911, the phone rings at Fort Bragg, Home of XVII Airborne Corps, “America’s Contingency Corps.” The 82nd Airborne Division provides the Global Response Force; and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command is headquartered here.
The largest U.S. military installation in terms of population, Fort Bragg has approximately 53,700 troops and another 14,000 civilians work on the post. Fort Bragg has almost 10 percent of all army forces assigned to the installation. Virtually a city in itself, the post supports a population of roughly 260,000, including military Families, contractors, retirees and others.
Most of All-American Fencing Academy’s fencers and families are Military connected; either sons or daughters, spouses, retired, guard and reserves, and active duty. Families may leave to return home while the soldiers are deployed. Parents are unable to make it to tournaments and practices. And families may be feeling the stress of either their first deployment or their 8th.
Even the All-American Fencing Academy’s coaches have either served, are a military spouse, or their full time job is on the installation. The military lifestyle constantly affects the atmosphere and culture of the fencing academy.
We feel the effects of deployment and military operations in our home town. Morning traffic has increased due to increased security, families trying to spend as many moments with their soldiers before they leave, even heightened emotions and stress. The All-American Fencing Academy has tried to be a place of comfort and consistency for our soldiers and families.
We ask America’s fencing clubs, coaches, families, and fencers to keep our armed forces, not just from Fort Bragg, but from all installations and bases; not just from the All-American Fencing Academy, but at all fencing clubs with soldiers and their families, in their thoughts and prayers while our soldiers and their family members experience increased deployments, operation tempo, and time away from their loved ones.
Be the military family’s place of comfort and consistency.