FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Mayors from cities across the Cape Fear region got a taste of what life is like on Fort Bragg Wednesday during an official visit.
More than a dozen mayors participated in the day-long visit, which included a tour of the installation as well as briefs on the 18th Airborne Corps and the Warrior Transition Battalion.
It was a peek into some of the activities that the military service members and civilians who work on Fort Bragg take part in everyday.
For Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson, it was a reminder of the importance of the relationship between the post and the surrounding community.
"Fort Bragg is so important to our community," Robertson said. "And we've all got common concerns, so it's a good time for us to come together."
As part of the day's afternoon events, the mayors heard first-person accounts of experiences unique to military life - first from Gold Star wife Rachel Nolen and then from Chief Warrant Officer 4 Byron Meads, a Wounded Warrior who returned to service as a helicopter pilot after having his left leg amputated.
Both Nolen and Meads spoke to the group at the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade's Pegasus Inn following a lunch with soldiers from the brigade.
From there, the group moved to the Medical Simulation Training Center where Master Sgt. Litt Moore gave an overview of the facility's training capabilities before allowing the group to watch an already scheduled combat training exercise.
Edwin Deaver, a Hope Mills commissioner and former Hope Mills mayor, said he appreciated getting a look at the people who make Fort Bragg function.
"The military here just has such special people," Deaver said. "When I was here, we'd have a command sergeant major leave, and everyone said he was the best there is. Another one would come in, and the next thing you know, they're saying the same thing about him."
Some of the locations viewed on post were familiar sites for Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey, who served with the 3rd Special Forces Signal Battalion before leaving the Army in 2007.
Nonetheless, Rey said he took away an even better understanding of the post's operations.
"It's an education, even though I've served," Rey said. "One of the great things was listening to (Brigadier General K.K.) Chinn this morning and looking at the breadth of responsibility of Fort Bragg. Not just what their mission is, but the impact they have on our region."