Military

When veterans with war injuries need accessible housing, they often have few options.

U.S. advisors practice training “Afghan soldiers” — actually American troops  brought to Fort Polk to augment civilian role players actually from Afghanistan. Looking on are trainers who are evaluating the advisors’ performance
Jay Price / WUNC

The Army is creating a new kind of large unit for a mission that American troops have performed for decades: helping troops of friendly foreign nations train and fight.

The VA hopes to roll out a national "whole health" program for veterans, offering them acupuncture, tai chi, yoga,and other alternative mental health therapies.

Photo of the Uncle Sam 'I want you for the U.S. Army' poster
Wikimedia Commons

Last spring, the Army told recruiters it expected them to enlist 6,000 new soldiers – the largest mid-year increase in its history. It recently also upped its yearly recruitment goal to an unexpected high of 80,000.

The Veterans Health Administration is planning to make mental health care more available to help reduce veteran suicide. But veterans advocates worry about the impact on the already strained VA health system.

courtesy of Daniel Bolger

In 1968, brothers Tom and Chuck Hagel volunteered for an infantry unit bound for Vietnam. One of them believed in the war; one was staunchly opposed to it. 

 

About 1.7 million troops are eligible to switch from a traditional pension plan to a blended plan that works more like a 401(k). But some lack the financial skills to evaluate their options.

The TOWR Mobil Unit is currently used for testing and housed at RTI International’s facility in RTP.
Courtesy of RTI International

North Carolina-based RTI International is developing something that could reduce the number of troops injured while supporting forward operating bases: a new latrine system.

Four World War II veterans were honored with Legion of Honor awards at a Raleigh ceremony.  From left: Morton Jacobs of New Bern, John P. Irby, III of Raleigh, Robert C. Senter of Fuquay-Varina, and Salvatore Maiello of Fayetteville.
Jay Price / WUNC

The number of North Carolina veterans who fought in World War II is declining. But last week, four of them got an official thanks from a country they helped liberate.

 Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin speaks during a press briefing in Bridgewater, N.J.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

When service members are discharged from the military, the degree to which they can receive benefits from Veterans Affairs depends largely on their characterization of service.

This month’s mass shooting at a Texas church has raised questions of whether the military does enough to help former service members with bad conduct discharges. They're not eligible for veterans' mental health care.  

During a San Diego training exercise, the Marine Corps tried out some new tools to enhance its amphibious landings.

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

David Jay Photography

For many years U.S. Navy Officer Jerri Bell swallowed the story that when it came to military service, women were only involved in support roles. It was not until she started researching for a book on women’s military history that she realized the common narrative was false: women had been actively involved in combat since the American revolution. 

Ft Bragg Stories A mixed 'chalk' of U.S. and British paratroopers line up to board a C-130 transport plane for the main jump of the joint exercise.
Jay Price / North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC

North Carolina is home to the largest U.S. military installation in the world by population. It employs more than 50,000 military and close to 30,000 civilians and contributes tens of billions of dollars to the state’s economy.

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.

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.

Finbarr O'Reilly

Thomas J. Brennan first started writing about war through letters home to his wife when he was deployed in a remote village in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

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.

The military has more than 130 bands with more than 6000 musicians. But their cost – about a half-billion dollars a year – has made them a target for budget cutters in Congress and at the Pentagon.

Autumn Sandeen, veteran, holds a picture of herself as a man and navy seaman recruit.
Gregory Bull / AP Photo

In the past decade the military has become increasingly open to service members of different genders and sexual identities.

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.

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