American Homefront

The American Homefront Project is reporting on military life and veterans issues. We're visiting bases to chronicle how troops are working and living. We're meeting military families. We're talking with veterans  to learn about the challenges they face.

We cover major policy issues at the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs, and we report on the family issues that service members and veterans experience in their daily lives. From the youngest military recruits to the veterans of World War II, we're reporting in-depth stories about Americans who serve.

Funding for WUNC's American Homefront Project comes from:

For more information, visit the American Homefront website.

The National Geographic mini-series depicts the true story of an ambush that killed eight Americans and hundreds of Iraqis.

A month and a half after hurricane Maria, the VA Caribbean Healthcare system is delivering care in unconventional ways. And it's helping veterans whose PTSD was triggered by the storm.

Removing pythons helps the ecology of the Everglades - and helps veterans transition from the battlefield to civilian life.

Many residents are making daily visits to distribution sites, where the Army has set up portable water purification systems.

1st Lt. Erin Graham of the North Carolina National Guard inspects a washed out bridge in the small Puerto Rico community of Vallaja.
Jay Price / WUNC

A North Carolina-based engineering battalion is making slow progress repairing roads that were blocked or damaged in Hurricane Maria. But months of work lies ahead.

Kevin Ziober says he was illegally fired because he served in Afghanistan. His employer is forcing him to take his complaint to binding arbitration, rather than to court.

Human error is likely to be among the causes of two separate collisions involving Navy destroyers. The accidents killed 17 sailors.

President Trump's directive prohibits transgender people from joining the military and bans the military from paying for gender reassignment surgery. But it doesn't address what will happen to transgender people currently serving.

More than a week after Hurricane Maria, the Air Force continues daily medical evacuation flights from St. Croix. Patients are heading to South Carolina, Georgia, and elsewhere.

Military C-130 and C-17 aircraft have been outfitted with medical equipment, as the Air Force flies patients to hospitals in the mainland U.S.

Members of the Jacksonville, N.C. Rolling Thunder chapter pass a flame during a cememony honoring prisoners of war and troops missing in action.
Jay Price / WUNC

In the Vietnam War era, Americans became more interested in recovering missing troops -- largely because of the activism of some military families.

The well-equipped medevac helicopters that transported injured troops in Vietnam became the model for today's air ambulance services in the U.S.

The ten-part documentary by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick is at times graphic, and people who work with veterans say it may trigger traumatic memories for those who fought in Vietnam.

The speedy, high-tech Littoral Combat Ship has been plagued with delays, mechanical problems and cost overruns.

Paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division wait after being fitted with parachutes for an upcoming training jump at Fort Bragg, N.C. on July 26, 2017.
Matt Couch / WUNC

The 82nd Airborne Division celebrates its 100th year this week. The Fort Bragg-based division is known best for its parachute jumps during World War II, and now specializes in rapid deployments - with or without parachutes.

Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division jump from a C-17 aircraft during a July training exercise at Fort Bragg.
Matt Couch / WUNC

The Fort Bragg division is best known for its parachute jumps in World War II. Today, its specialty is rapid deployments - with or without parachutes.

Military families move a lot, and that makes it hard for service members’ spouses to hold steady jobs. About half of military spouses are either unemployed or underemployed – and that can take a toll on their families, their earning power, and the economy. 

28 people have been charged so far in the so-called "Fat Leonard" bribery scandal. While the Navy has beefed up its ethics training, it also faces longstanding cultural challenges.

For U.S. troops in Vietnam, the "China Beach" surfing spot provided a rare recreational outlet during the war. Some still seek healing from the waves.

13,000 Afghans who helped American troops are waiting for special visas to come to the U.S. Their lives could be in danger as they wait.

Christian Wade of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune shoots a suppressed carbine. The surpressor is the canister on the end of the barrel.
Timothy Lutz and Clarence Wimberly / U.S. Marine Corps

The Marine Corps is experimenting with suppressors and high-tech headsets to quiet some battlefield noises, while making it easier for troops to hear other sounds.

A growing number of veterans are acquiring service dogs to help cope with PTSD. But the VA won’t pay for them and says their effectiveness hasn’t been scientifically proven.

Hundreds of veterans - who served in the U.S. military as non-citizens - were later deported for committing civilian crimes. 

Non-citizens are eligible to serve in the U.S. military. But even as veterans, they can still be deported if they commit crimes after they leave the service.

Since 2011, more than 30,000 service members have filed federal complaints about consumer scams. Regulators say troops are frequent targets of predatory lending schemes.

PHOTOS: The 82nd Airborne Division Turns 100

Jun 1, 2017

As the Army's 82nd Airborne Division commemorates its 100th anniversary this year, its annual homecoming event was an opportunity to show off some of its capabilities.

A west coast group is using youth theater to tell the stories of an often forgotten group of children -- kids who grow up in military families.

The American Homefront Project talks with service members and veterans about who they're remembering this Memorial Day.

To prepare for sophisticated enemies, soldiers are learning to use and defend themselves against cyber weapons.

A growing number of homeless veterans are women. But there are few places that specialize in helping them get back on their feet.

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