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Murder At Fort Bragg: Investigating White Supremacy Within Military Ranks

Military personnel march outside the Capitol as security is increased ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Military personnel march outside the Capitol as security is increased ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

This radio diary is part of our hour on the resurgence of extremism and white supremacy in the military. Listen here.


Lloyd Austin became the country’s first Black defense secretary with a 93 to 2 vote in the Senate on Friday.

During his confirmation hearing last week, Secretary Austin shared his own experience with extremism coming up through the ranks. In 1995, he was a lieutenant colonel with 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“We woke up one day and we discovered that we had extremist elements in our ranks,” Austin said in his confirmation hearing.

Austin is referring to a 1995 double homicide. Three white soldiers shot and killed a Black couple in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“The signs for that activity were there all along. We just didn’t know what to look for … but we learned from that,” Austin said.

So what exactly did the department of defense learn?

To answer that question, we turn to George Reed, a former Army CID Supervisor assigned to the case. Over 25 years later, he says the details are still fresh in his mind.

In this diary … we hear from:

George Reed, a retired Army Colonel and military policeman. He is now dean of the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.