1942: Dates and dances with off-duty soldiers at Fort Bragg

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Behind the scenes at Fort Bragg during World War II
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Behind the scenes at Fort Bragg during World War II
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers off duty as they go for ice cream and meet girls at Fort Brag in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army troops under cover as they pet a puppy at Fort Brag in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers talk in the barracks at Fort Brag in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers off duty wait to board a bus in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers off duty wait to board a bus in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers off duty drink beer at a local bar in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldier from Fort Brag socializes with a date in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldier from Fort Brag socializes with a date in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldier from Fort Brag socializes with a date at a dance in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldiers from Fort Brag socialize with dates in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldiers from Fort Brag socialize with dates in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldiers from Fort Brag socialize with dates in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLW, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers playing ping pong in the barracks at Fort Brag in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers playing cards in the barracks at Fort Brag in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldiers from Fort Brag makes plans in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers off duty drink beer at a local bar and meet girls in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldier from Fort Brag socializes with a date at a dance in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldiers from Fort Brag go dancing with dates in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldiers from Fort Brag socialize with a girl in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers off duty meet up at an outdoor bar in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers off duty drink beers at a local bar and meet girls in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldiers from Fort Brag socialize with girls in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldiers from Fort Brag socialize with a girl in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: Off duty army soldiers from Fort Brag enjoy a drag show in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers off duty socializes at bonfire in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers talking in the barracks at Fort Brag in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - 1942: A view of army soldiers at artillery training at Fort Brag in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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Named for North Carolinian Confederate general Braxton Bragg, the US military base of Fort Bragg was established just before the end of World War I, and slowly grew to become a major center for artillery training and testing.

By the summer of 1940, some 5,400 soldiers were stationed at the sprawling installation. With the passage of the Selective Service Act and the imminent threat of World War II, the population of the base ballooned to 67,000 troops in just a year.

Fort Bragg became the training center for some of the first airborne divisions, and continued to receive tens of thousands of new inductees throughout the war.

When not training with rifles, artillery and parachutes, new recruits had the chance to blow off a little steam in the neighboring town of Fayetteville, taking buses into town for dates, dances and drinks before returning for duty.

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