The War At Home
On October 2, as we were preparing this issue for press, I took a quick breather and went online to check the latest headlines. "Charlotte war hero killed on patrol" was the one that stood out.
Sgt. Zachary D. Tellier, thirty-one, lived in Charlotte with his wife, Sara, before joining the military. According to published reports, earlier this year in Afghanistan, Tellier pulled two paratroopers from a burning vehicle, severely burning his hands in the process, then jumped into a turret to return fire. A lieutenant made him leave the vehicle because of his injuries. He was awarded the Bronze Star. He had already received two Purple Hearts.
Tellier died from injuries he received while on ground patrol in Afghanistan. He was a combat infrantryman with the 82nd Airborne, out of Fort Bragg, in Fayetteville.
The news stopped me for a couple reasons. One, it's not often we read about a soldier with local ties dying in the wars overseas (and if you don't believe we're fighting a war in Afghanistan, too, ask Sgt. Tellier's family). Two, I had just finished editing Mike Giglio's story, "Leaving, Fighting, Living, Loving," which starts on page 88. In August, when Fayetteville is about the hottest place in the country, I sent Mike to the town for four days. He lined up a few interviews in advance, but otherwise he was on his own. I wanted him to come back with a story about what it's like in Fayetteville right now. In Charlotte, we remain somewhat insulated from the wars. Not so in Fayetteville, home to Pope Air Force Base as well as Fort Bragg. The latter is the world's most populous military base. Mike, a young Davidson College grad, came back with a visceral, evocative piece on life during wartime. It reminded me of something Hunter S. Thompson would have put together—hence the coverline "Fear and Loathing in Fayetteville." The story is well worth your time.
As a bonus, you can go to our Web site and read a Q&A with Giglio about his experiences. We recently overhauled our site, at www.charlottemagazine.com . Look for our blog, The Daily Buzz, on the home page, as well as many articles from the print magazine, bonus content, news about contests, promotions, events, and more. You can also leave comments on most stories, a feature several readers took advantage of in September (see Letters, page 16). We'll continue to enhance the site over the coming months. We hope you bookmark the site and make it a regular visit.
Also in this issue, Steve Goldberg, who has written for this magazine since 1995, spent months reporting from the inner circle of the Charlotte Bobcats as the team and organization prepared for the 2007-2008 season, which tips off this month. The team has been in flux for more than a year now. Execs have come and gone through a revolving door; fans have mostly stayed away. Steve documents the franchise's efforts to stabilize things and, more importantly, win over a still-reluctant Charlotte. Could this be the season? The story starts on page 80. Visit our Web site for a Q&A with Steve about the story and the new season.
Postscript: As this issue was on its way to the printer, I took another breather to check the headlines. I saw this: "82nd Airborne brigade returning home." The Associated Press reported that, after fifteen months in Iraq, more than 3,200 paratroopers from the 82nd's 3rd Brigade were on their way back to Fort Bragg (three other brigades remain overseas). Welcome home, boys.