Cpl. Merle Bragg was less than 24 hours away from another lengthy deployment with the U.S. Army National Guard. It would have been a familiar story for the 50-year-old veteran, before the state granted a hardship approval memorandum to keep him on duty with the Berlin Police Department.
A native of northern Maine, Bragg said the service “kicked [him] around” between different units until he ended up in Maryland 26 years ago. He has been a member of the Berlin Police force for two decades.
For Bragg, entry into the service had been a foregone conclusion since middle school.
“I joined the delayed entry program with the Army between my junior and senior year of high school. I told my dad when I was 12, I wanted to be a soldier,” he said. “I was a farmer [and] didn’t want to be a farmer. I wanted to do something else.