Military

Clemon H. Terrell enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1950 as a steward. He would make the officers' beds and shine their shoes, among other duties. Due to segregation, there were limited opportunities for advancement. This week, 34 years following his retirement from the service, Terrell was promoted to honorary Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer.
 

"I was ecstatic. Being promoted to Chief Petty Officer is a prestigious promotion," he said, adding that the the Chief Petty Officer has the respect of everyone "from the Admiral on down."

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative records stories from members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ten years ago, Keith Melick was a medic in the Army, and Roy Wilkins was a command sergeant major in the Army's Special Forces.

They crossed paths in Afghanistan, where Wilkins was wounded in an IED explosion.

And then this August, by chance, they met again — in the gym at a VA medical center in North Carolina, where Wilkins was playing with his wheelchair basketball team.

Sharon Smith is taking two months to walk North Carolina's Mountain to the Sea Trail, which is more than 1,000 miles long and crosses the entire state.

Smith served as an Air Force combat medic during the Gulf War - and she is helping to prep the trail for a larger contingent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who will cross the state next year as a part of the Warrior Hike: Walk off the War program. 

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base."

Lance Cpl. Jasmine Abrego is an office clerk who dreams of becoming a warrior.

She's flat on her stomach in the dirt, in full combat gear. Suddenly she pops up, slings a 44-pound metal tripod on her back and lurches forward in a crablike run. Finally, she slams the tripod to the ground. A male Marine slaps a .50-caliber machine gun into place.

Sgt. Kristy Rodriguez is sprinting on a treadmill. She's wearing dark green shorts, a matching T-shirt and white sneakers. The pace keeps getting faster.

Rodriguez is at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, taking part in a Marine Corps experiment to determine whether women will be allowed to serve in ground combat units.

"A lot of people think that we can't do it," she says. "I don't think the same."

As she runs, Rodriguez stares at a photo — the iconic shot of Marines planting the American flag at Iwo Jima.

Ruins in Charleston, S.C., from the album Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign
George N. Barnard / David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Duke University recently acquired two stunning sets of photographs of the Civil War. Now, Duke Performances has commissioned a leading guitarist to set the images to music. The result is an intimate perspective on the cost of war.

This is a story about two new Americans: Webton Webley, a 26-year-old active service member of the U.S. Army, and his wife 23-year-old Sherell Perry-Webley, an U.S. Army reservist.

Sherell's and Webton's lives in the U.S. have been closely intertwined. They went to the same high school in Jamaica, and Sherell eventually got a green card through her mom, who was living in Fort Lauderdale. Webton arrived to Florida on a visa to study at Miami-Dade College. Webton says that's actually the first place they spoke.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

This Veterans Day, Gov. Pat McCrory has high praise for the new U.S. Veterans Affairs secretary. He's also touting new programs to help former and active members of the Armed Forces in North Carolina. 

He tells Eric Hodge that showing gratitude to veterans is something he takes very personally.

McCrory's father was a Navy pilot and his father-in-law flew P-47s in the Army Air Corps. But his real role model was his cousin Paul. Paul was a Marine who trained at Camp Lejeune and served in the Vietnam War.

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

    

Nearly one in five veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

That’s a sobering statistic for the researchers and psychologists who are trying to understand and treat PTSD. It also means more veterans than ever are suffering from PTSD’s debilitating symptoms.

But the research is yielding new treatment strategies and veterans are finding new ways to fight the severe depression and anxiety that comes with the disorder.

As many as 40 percent of the approximately 2 million military children in the United States are under the age of 5.
Breaking Ground / WAMU

  

The United States has been at war for more than a decade and the men and women that protect our country overseas are not the only people making sacrifices. Tens of thousands of children have watched as their parents get deployed into dangerous conflict zones and have been dealing with the reality that they may never come back or that they may return as someone different.

Flag of the United States of America, backlit, windy day.
Jnn13 / Wikipedia

Communities across North Carolina are hosting events in honor of Veterans Day today. 

Airman First Class Fabiola Tan of Durham becomes an American citizen today. She is one of six U.S. military veterans and service members who naturalized in a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ceremony in Durham County this morning.

Tan came to the United States from the Dominican Republic before she turned four.

I never meant to play you this story. Let me tell you why I had to.

Every so often I record interviews as part of a school benefit. People ask me to question their parents, or grandparents, to preserve family history. The stories that emerge are a little like our series StoryCorps.

Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg

Family members and officials at Fort Bragg welcomed nearly 300 paratroopers home from Afghanistan yesterday. 

Operations are winding down in that country, and yesterday's event was just one in a series of reunions over the past few weeks. 

Sgt. First Class Joseph Armas is based at Fort Bragg and helped organize the event.  He says yesterday’s ceremony came at the end of an eight month deployment.

A rendering of the new memorial, which will honor 632 men and women.
Greensboro Coliseum Complex

A new memorial honoring fallen veterans is being dedicated in Greensboro today.

The downtown site pays tribute to the 632 men and women of Guilford County who've died in battles since World War II. They have been honored at the War Memorial Auditorium, but that building is closing. The new site honors all of the military branches.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jessica Keith and other members of the 17th Training Wing at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, render a salute as the American flag passes by during the Veterans Day parade in San Angelo, Texas, Nov. 6, 2010. Airman Keith p
Staff Sgt. Heather L. Rodgers / U.S. Air Force via Flickr/Creative Commons

Computer giant Lenovo is teaming up with the non-profit Dress for Success to help get female veterans into the civilian workforce.

Numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate among female veterans is nearly double what it is for male vets.

Beth Briggs is Executive Director of Dress for Success Triangle.  The organization trains women to get them back in the workforce and provides them with a wardrobe. 

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