Military

The Honor Was Mine: A Look Inside the Struggles of Military Veterans
Grand Harbor Press

 Therapist Elizabeth Heaney left her private practice to participate in a Defense Department initiative that offers free, confidential counseling to combat veterans and their families. Despite more than 30 years of counseling experience, she realized that her military clients were unlike any patients she’d met before. She learned to let go of preconceived notions of the military and to adopt new ways to forge relationships with her tight-lipped clients. Gradually the stories of war, loss and re-adjustment to civilian life came tumbling out.

Homeschooling is becoming more common, and studies suggest that military parents are more likely to homeschool their kids.

Photo of P.T. Deutermann
Cynthia Brann

For more than 20 years, P.T. Deutermann has channeled his experiences in the military into fiction writing. He has written 19 novels that have been inspired by his time as a Navy captain and an arms-control specialist in the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Jay Price / WUNC

It is a long-standing tradition for presidential candidates to address the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in election years.

This year, the event is in North Carolina, a key swing state. That is especially appealing to the candidates in this election because veterans regularly vote in larger numbers than other voters. 

But this year, veterans are not enthusiastic about their choice in either party.

MLB's before and after images for the Fort Bragg Game
Major League Baseball / Fort Bragg

A few remaining tickets are available for a Major League Baseball game at Fort Bragg, but only to people holding military IDs.

Most of the tickets for the game between the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins have already been given away to troops and their families.

As the nation prepares to commemorate Memorial Day, more than 1600 service members remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. For the families of some of them, the search for answers has become a lifelong pursuit.

Contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune military base has been linked to adverse health effects.
Sanjay Parekh, via Flickr

Retired Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger says the Department of Veterans Affairs has done too little to help the more than one million servicemembers and their families exposed to tap water tainted by industrial dumping at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987.

Nearly 83,000 U.S. service members are still listed as missing in action from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and other conflicts. Many of their families still hope their remains will be identified and returned home.

There are signs that transgender people could serve openly in the United States military within the next year.
The U.S. Army / Flickr Creative Commons

A report from the Department of Defense says more service members are being diagnosed with eating disorders.

The stresses of combat and the military's physical requirements have driven some troops to anorexic and bulimic behaviors. Some of them say the military offers little help, and many do not report their conditions. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with KUOW military reporter Patricia Murphy about her reporting as part of the American Homefront Project.

Scene from Downrange: Voices from the Homefront
Cape Fear Regional Theatre

For families in the military, a life of service can mean long periods of separation. While service members put themselves on the front lines, spouses must sustain a commitment to their country to persevere on the homefront.

The new play, Downrange: Voices From The Homefront, showcases the stories of the ones who wait at home for their loved ones to return and the challenges they face when service members come home.

There are signs that transgender people could serve openly in the United States military within the next year.
The U.S. Army / Flickr Creative Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

The American military permits people to serve regardless of sexual orientation, but there are still policies precluding military service based on gender identity.

About 15,000 transgender people currently serve in the American military in violation of the rules. The United States lags behind many other Western nations that allow transgender people to serve openly, but Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is pushing for change.

A veteran is honored at Fort Rucker
Fort Rucker / Flickr Creative Commons

For many veterans of World War II and Vietnam, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts were popular social gathering places to share stories of war experiences. And they were powerful lobbying voices in the political sphere.

But across the nation, participation in these organizations has declined. Veterans groups are making new efforts to recruit younger members.

A U.S. Army Air Forces plane flies over 'The Hump' in the Himalayan Mountains in 1945. Many U.S. planes crashed in this area during World War II due to the terrain.
United States Army Air Forces / Wikimedia Commons

Hundreds of U.S. aircrafts were lost during World War II along a remote military supply route in the Himalayas called the Hump. The treacherous terrain caused hundreds of World War II service members to crash, scattering their remains along the region.

For decades, families have waited for the lost veterans' remains to return to the U.S., but a border dispute between India and China has stalled military search efforts from recovering the remains.

Peter Janse of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, examines one of the engine of the B-24 Hot as Hell in Arunachal Pradesh, India in 2008.
JPAC/Jesse M. Shipps

A U.S. recovery team has returned to a remote part of India to try to retrieve the remains of troops killed in World War II. Family members say a border dispute between India and China has delayed recovery efforts for years.


Army recruits arriving at Fort Benning for basic training
Raymond McCrea Jones

What makes someone want to become a soldier? What does it look like to transition from a civilian to a soldier? How does it affect individuality?

Raymond McCrea Jones, who used to be on staff at the New York Times, wanted to answer those questions. He embedded himself in a company of 162 Army recruits at Fort Benning in Georgia for 10 weeks. His fly-on-the-wall photos show the experience of basic training, from 4 a.m. wakeup calls to grueling field exercises.

There are signs that transgender people could serve openly in the United States military within the next year.
The U.S. Army / Flickr Creative Commons

The American military permits people to serve regardless of sexual orientation, but there are still policies precluding military service based on gender identity.

About 15,000 transgender people currently serve in the American military in violation of the rules. The United States lags behind many other Western nations that allow transgender people to serve openly, but Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is pushing for change.

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl faces a hearing Thursday to determine whether he’ll be court-martialed on a desertion charge.

Cold Frame

Jul 31, 2015
Image of PT Deutermann, who is a former captain in the Navy and arms control specialist with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Cynthia Brann

P.T. Deutermann spent 26 years in the Navy and working for the government. As a captain in the Navy and an arms control specialist on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Deutermann developed many skills.

When that career ended, he began writing military fiction and has published 18 novels.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Deutermann, a North Carolina resident, about his latest title “Cold Frame” (St. Martin’s Press/2015), a government drama in the age of counterterrorism.

Image of Tommy Sowers
Duke University

Tommy Sowers served two tours in Iraq as a green beret. The Duke graduate earned a Ph.D. at the London School of Economics, and he taught at West Point and at Duke.

Sowers ran as the Democratic Party's nominee for Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in 2010 and later became an assistant secretary for the Veterans Affairs. He worked to help veterans gain access to benefits.

vibracore
Dave DeWitt

For a coastal geologist, a vibracore is like a time machine. As a generator vibrates a long aluminum tube, Professor Antonio Rodriguez and his two graduate students force it deep into the Onslow Beach sand.

When they pull it up a few minutes later, it reveals several thousand years of history.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) talks with WUNC's Frank Stasio
Andrew Tie / WUNC

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) quickly ascended from a seat on the parks and recreation commission in Cornelius, N.C., to speaker of the North Carolina House in 2011, and finally U.S. Senator.

In his first five months, Tillis has taken a particular interest in the military with seats in the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Tillis about national security, deregulation, immigration and other issues in Washington.

National Security

At Georgia's Fort Benning, female soldiers are fighting a two-month battle. Their enemies? Hunger, fatigue, even hallucination. They're fighting their way through the Army's notoriously hard Ranger School, trying to make history by becoming the first women to graduate from it.

It's one of several Pentagon experiments to see how best to move women into ground combat roles. And it's a test that thousands of men before them have failed.

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."

Caring for the nation's veterans at the end of their lives can be a complex task. Service members — especially combat veterans — can struggle with guilt, abandonment and regret.

A field of flags outside the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC.
Gerry Dincher / Flickr/Creative Commons

It's Memorial Day: A holiday when many residents gather to remember those who died while serving in the US Military.

Communities across the state have their own way to honor the fallen.

Thomasville

Joe Leonard organizes the annual parade in Thomasville. He says they take the event one step further.

pugetsound.va.gov/

Combat veterans often struggle at the end of life with feelings of guilt, abandonment and regret. For some dying service members and their families, a military hospital is a place where they can make those last days meaningful.

Host Frank Stasio talks with KUOW reporter Patricia Murphy about end of life care for our nation’s soldiers.

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