Veterans

The V.A. is building columbariums at several veterans cemeteries, where there is no more space for traditional burials.

More than four years after the military’s discriminatory policies against gay and lesbian service members ended, veterans advocates say the Pentagon has not done enough to help the roughly 80,000 troops kicked out of the services for being gay since World War II.

Dorothy Managan, 93, served as an Army nurse in Tacoma, Wa. after World War II. She recently added her life story to her medical record at the Asheville, N.C. VA Medical Center.
Jay Price / American Homefront

 

For many health professionals, treating patients is a matter of assessing their ailments, making a diagnosis and prescribing treatment where it is required. Then it is on to the next patient. But a new program in VA medical centers aims to make connections between medical professionals and their patients through narratives.
 

Edwin Cottrell holds an illustration of the P-47D fighter plane he flew in World War II.
Jay Price / WUNC

Edwin Cottrell, a World War II pilot with the 48th Fighter Group, told his story as part of the "My Life, My Story" project at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, N.C.  He talked to VA interviewer Melanie McConnell about his life in and after the military.  Later, he spoke with WUNC reporter Jay Price.

93-year-old Dorothy Managan is among the patients who participated in the "My Life, My Story" project at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, N.C.  She talked to the VA interviewer about her experiences as a nurse during and after World War II.  She repeated some of those stories for WUNC reporter Jay Price.

Thor Ringler of the Department of Veterans Affairs interviews Korean War veteran Darrell Krenz for the 'My Life, My Story' project.
Department of Veterans Affairs

An initiative at several veterans hospitals adds something new to patients' medical records: their life stories.

Service members with Other-Than-Honorable discharges receive no veterans benefits and are much more likely to become homeless. But the military has no consistent standards about who gets a dreaded "OTH."

Harold Ivey holds the military medals of his brother Charles, who died in the Korean War.
Jay Price / American Homefront

63 years after the Korean War ended, remains of U.S. service members are being identified and returned to their families -- thanks to advances in DNA technology.

The nation's veterans are being asked to contribute DNA for the largest genetic research project in history.

Jamie Jones hugs her husband, Army veteran James Wallace, as they move into their new Winston-Salem duplex apartment.
Jay Price/WUNC

Winston-Salem is among a group of cities nationwide that say they've met the White House goal to end veteran homelessness.

The leadership of the American Legion and VFW is seeking younger, more diverse members. But they face a challenge changing their public image.


To commemorate Veterans Day, the American Homefront Project talks with former service members about their time in the armed forces.

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

People across the state are honoring those who served in the military on this Veterans Day.  There are parades and ceremonies in many communities and other events where veterans get to tell their stories of service. 

Cornell Wilson, Jr. is the Secretary for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for North Carolina.  He says it is always important to thank veterans for their service.

"We have roughly 800,000 veterans in this state, a combination of retirees and those that just got off active duty and they are a very vital part of our community," says Wilson.

Groups like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars have served former service members for a century. But declining membership threatens to lessen their influence.


As more military jobs are opened to women, Congress may face the question of whether to require women to register for the Selective Service.


The last American was drafted in 1973, but the U.S. maintains an elaborate infrastructure to re-activate the draft if Congress ever decides it's needed.


UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt (second from left) meets with service members May 20, after announcing two new university programs to serve current and former military personnel.
Melanie Busbee/UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill becomes the 11th public university in North Carolina to open a  campus veterans center.

The Huntsville Times/Steve Doyle

Veterans advocates, protesters, and even President Obama have cited the statistic that 22 veterans a day kill themselves. But the reality is complex, and the number can be misleading.

A picture of the NCNG logo.
North Carolina National Guard

The N.C. National Guard will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with a ceremony Friday honoring 16 members of the 30th Infantry Division.

Six soldiers from the division were awarded the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II. Then-General Dwight Eisenhower's staff ranked the 30th as the top infantry division in the European theater.

Its contemporaries still honor the division.

Harnett County Courthouse
Gerry Dincher / Wikipedia

The Harnett County Veterans Treatment Court is looking for volunteers to help veterans navigate the legal system.

The Veterans Treatment Court assists former service members who have committed minor misdemeanor crimes. Mentors are now working with 20 veterans, and 10 more are expected. But only nine mentors are enrolled.

A picture of the fireworks yard sign.
militarywithptsd.org

Some combat veterans are posting signs in their yards, asking neighbors to be courteous with their fireworks this July Fourth weekend. The signs come from a non-profit called Military with PTSD, and it's sending them to vets across the country.

Christine Weber is a former Marine with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who lives in Charlotte. She says sudden loud noises, including fireworks, remind her of gunfire and rocket launchers during her deployment in Iraq.

A student veterant leaning over his desk.
Carly Swain / UNC-Chapel Hill

Fifteen military veterans are wrapping up a week-long academic training bootcamp at UNC-Chapel Hill designed to help them transition easier into college. It's part of a national program called the Warrior-Scholar Project.

Lara Taylor, director of Carolina's orientation, says some vets come straight from service, while others have been out for a few years.

Jay Price/WUNC

Most people expect their eternal rest will be peaceful.

But not the ones who want to be buried in the Eastern Carolina State Veterans Cemetery now under construction in Goldsboro.

North Carolina’s newest veterans cemetery is right under the flight path of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. On some days, the roar of low-flying fighter jets and aerial tankers overwhelms the cemetery every few minutes.

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.

Gloria Hoeppner and her husband Earl Kornbrekke at their home in Friday Harbor, Washington. Heoppner, a World War II veteran, is trying to use a new Veterans Administration program to seek medical care closer to home.
Patricia Murphy

A $15 billion federal program intended to improve veterans' health care is off to a rocky start, and some members of Congress are calling for significant reforms.

The Veterans Choice program is supposed to help vets get timely health care, sometimes closer to home. Nearly 9 million veterans received identification cards in the mail from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  About 460,000 have tried since it began in November.

'I'm Not Broken'

Feb 6, 2015
John and Cassie Rice
StoryCorps

John Rice graduated from East Chapel Hill High School and went to college but he dropped out to join the Marines Corps. Rice insisted on infantry, and was assigned to a special operations unit that deployed to Iraq in 2008. Three months into his tour, he was injured.

He told the story to his wife Cassie at the StoryCorps booth in Durham, North Carolina. 

A picture of the French Legion of Honor medal.
David Monniaux / Wikipedia

France is paying tribute to seven North Carolina veterans of World War II today in Raleigh.  The men will be presented with the French Legion of Honor.  

 Denis Barbet  is the Consul General of France in Atlanta.  He says the medal is his country's highest decoration. 

Tommy Rieman in his office at Charlotte Bridge Home, with the action figure that bears his likeness.
Carol Jackson

Under different circumstances, Tommy Rieman could have been charged with a DUI when he got drunk and drove into a tree. But because he's a veteran he was enrolled in the state's first Veterans Treatment Court, a program designed to give support rather than punishment.

This chapter of Rieman's story starts in Iraq, 2003.

"Before the war started we were in Iraq, calling in air strikes you know?" he remembers. "I was 21, 22 years old. You're on top of the world."

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.

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