We Asked, You Answered: Fort Bragg as a Duty Station

 
Photo by  DVIDSHUB

Photo by DVIDSHUB

Last week on Instagram I launched our first ever military town polling (took me long enough, right?)! I polled the audience over a period of four days to get a general sense of how you like(d) Fort Bragg as a duty station, where you chose to live, where you like to eat, and what you do in your free time in the area. There was SO much participation that I couldn’t possibly fit it into one post, so I’m breaking it down by poll topic.

I rolled up your responses to all of my questions concerning the general feelings of Fort Bragg as a duty station and compiled them here in this nifty blog post for you to reference whenever you fancy…cuz that’s just what friends do.

On the duty station itself…

I started off this poll by asking a simple question, “Have you ever been to Fort Bragg?”

  • Of the 120+ people who participated, 58% of you have actually been stationed at Fort Bragg, or have been there temporarily for training.

  • Of those who have NOT been to Fort Bragg, 55% of you said you had a negative perception of Fort Bragg as a duty station. Let’s be honest…we’re not surprised by this. The Army rumor mill is a force to be reckoned with and can really cast a negative light on duty stations that have tons to offer.

I ran this information by Jenny Bell of Go Fayetteville! and she had this to say:

Since around 2000, the area has been going through a slow revitalization process that has gone into overdrive in the last four years, particularly in Downtown Fayetteville. There is a whole group of people, especially military veterans, who are what we call #FayByChoice because they leave service and decide to stay in Fayetteville and open businesses. It’s pretty amazing to see how many people have invested in this area, because they believe in what is possible for Fayetteville and Cumberland County as a whole.
— Jenny @gofayetteville

How does Fort Bragg compare to other duty stations?

I polled the audience on whether Fort Bragg was in the Top 50% or Bottom 50% of all the duty stations you’ve ever been to. Despite all the negative rumors surrounding Fort Bragg as a duty station, I was pleasantly surprised to see that 75% of you said that it was in the Top 50%.

Your reasoning behind ranking it in the Top 50% ranged widely from location to career progression to communities. Here’s a few responses that best represent your thought-process:

  • Fort Bragg is set in the heart of one of the most beautiful states in the South!

  • There are so many things to do around here. Whether it’s within the city or a short road trip away

  • If you value career progression then this is the place to be

  • We loved our community!

  • North Carolina has mountains AND beach

  • There’s just something amazing about those pine trees

  • Lots of surrounding areas with different “personalities”

One question I wished I’d asked, but didn’t because I’m an idiot, was whether those who ranked it in the Bottom 50% did so because of the unit or the surrounding area. A question for a later poll perhaps. Feel free to berate me in the comments.

62% of you feel that Fort Bragg is a hidden gem of Army duty stations. You provided the following rationale:

  • Close knit community and variety

  • Many people don’t realize just how much Cumberland County has to offer its residents/visitors

  • There are so many small towns around base that are so very charming and homie!

  • I think it has so much more to offer than people think

  • There’s something for everyone. Couples, singles, families, adventure lovers, artists

Of those who disagreed on Fort Bragg as a hidden gem, you thought places like Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Fort Polk, Fort Bliss, Fort Riley and Vicenza were better representations of hidden gems in the Army community.

But would you go back?

Naturally, after all these questions, I’d ask you if you’d ever go back to Fort Bragg. A resounding 81% said YES, and 19% said NO.

For those of you who said you’d go back to Fort Bragg, you provided the following reasons:

  • At this point, it’s purely nostalgic. I made great memories there.

  • We became #FayByChoice after exiting the Army, mainly because the people here are like nowhere else!

  • It’s become home! Our first duty station after we wed and where we welcomed our first child!

  • It’s one of the only places so far that has felt like home

  • Good community and close to a lot of cities

  • It’s home

  • All about the morning drive through the pine trees with a cup of hot coffee!

For those who said you would not go back to Fort Bragg, all of the reasons had to do with the unit or facilities on post rather than the surrounding area. Most mentioned that the units don’t give enough time off or that the training areas were insufficient for the units.

So…are the rumors true?

Like we mentioned up front, the Army rumor mill can be a powerful beast. I wanted to know if you thought the rumors you heard about Fort Bragg prior to your arrival were true. 71% of you said they were NOT TRUE.

I didn’t ask any follow up to this question. Sometimes it’s best to discover the truth for yourself. Regardless of what you heard before your arrival, knowing that 71% of you felt that reality was different from your perceptions is a powerful lesson to all of us.

What are your thoughts on Fort Bragg as a duty station? Tell us in the comments and tag your pictures with #rightandup so we can repost!

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about the author

Riley is an active duty US Army Captain and the Founder of Right and Up. She’s currently stationed in Washington, DC, with previous assignments at Fort Huachuca, Fort Bliss, Fort Riley and Fort Benning. You can typically find her eating embarrassingly large amounts of food in local restaurants, or exploring her military town with her husband, Sean and her dog, Gus. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!