By Drew Brooks
Pfc. Alan H. Newton had a seemingly endless supply of love.
While he was known for rescuing any animal spotted near his family’s home in Star — and a few people in need, too — Newton’s greatest loves were his family and his country, officials said.
Nearly eight years after he was killed in Afghanistan, Newton’s two biggest loves intersected Tuesday at Fort Bragg as his family, who traveled from Asheboro and Wilmington, helped dedicate the Pfc. Alan Newton U.S. Army Reserve Center.
The center is the future home of U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command. Officials expect to move into the new headquarters in the near future.
The $22-million facility was recently completed on Pratt Street, near the Fort Bragg Noncommissioned Officer Academy.
It will allow USACAPOC to consolidate its Fort Bragg facilities. The U.S. Army Reserve Command oversees more than 90 units in 34 states across the nation and Puerto Rico.
The command’s nearly 13,500 soldiers make up the vast majority of the nation’s conventional civil affairs, psychological operations and theater information operations soldiers.
Newton – a North Carolina native and soldier with USACAPOC’s Greensboro-based 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion – is one of 49 soldiers who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan while serving with the command.
In addition to dedicating the building for Newton, officials also unveiled a memorial stone featuring the names of all of the soldiers who have been killed while deployed with USACAPOC units. The command of Maj. Gen. Daniel R. Ammerman and Command Sgt. Maj. Peter Running also added a streamer denoting the unit’s Global War on Terror service to the USACAPOC colors.
Speaking to members of the Newton family, Ammerman said the fallen soldier was trying to “do good” when he and Capt. Benjamin A. Sklaver – another USACAPOC soldier – were killed by an Afghan police officer wearing a suicide vest on Oct. 2, 2009.
“That’s really what we all try to do,” Ammerman said.
He related how Newton – a 26-year-old who graduated from Southwestern Randolph High School in 2002 – joined the North Carolina National Guard in 2003.
When Newton learned his unit wasn’t set to deploy in the near future, he transferred to the Army Reserve and became a civil affairs specialist.
Ammerman said that in his time with USACAPOC, Newton developed a reputation for being dependable, trustworthy and loving.
Newton’s loss came shortly after the unit arrived in Afghanistan, he said. By honoring him, the future headquarters will serve as a reminder of the sacrifices of USACAPOC’s fallen soldiers, most of whom have been among the junior enlisted ranks.