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.

Women are the fastest growing subgroup among veterans. But many view the VA Health System as a place only for men.

The Army is holding its first nationwide virtual recruiting campaign, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to scale back face-to-face interactions and revealed gaps in its digital outreach strategy.

The recent Supreme Court decision on LGBTQ job discrimination doesn't directly affect the military's transgender service ban, but people opposed to the ban say it may help their own court fight.

Some doctors and nurses with the Air Force Reserves are warning the public not to underestimate the continued threat posed by the coronavirus. They were among thousands of military personnel who deployed to New York City during the height of its pandemic.

Soldiers gather for a 2019 awards ceremony at Fort Bragg, N.C. The base is one of 10 that Pentagon leaders say they are open to renaming.
Joshua Cowden / U.S. Army

With the call for changing the names of 10 Southern military bases gaining momentum, the question is starting to arise in Washington  and outside of it  what names might replace those of the Confederate generals they now bear?


Even as members of the Guard and Reserve are seeing longer and more frequent deployments, they don't always receive the same retirement, education, and housing benefits as active duty troops.

Soldiers of Indiana National Guard
Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy

As protests surged in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer, governors and mayors in more than 20 states deployed the National Guard to control the crowds.

Clifford Shuping feeds his goats outside his home in Rockwell, N.C. A Korean War era veteran, Shuping died of COVID-19 at the N.C. State Veterans Home in Salisbury last month.
Courtesy of Carrie McKinney

Clifford Paul Shuping, who served in the Army during the Korean conflict, passed away from COVID-19 at the State Veterans Home in Salisbury. As part of an effort to honor North Carolina veterans who have died during the pandemic, WUNC spoke with Shuping's family about his life and legacy.

Some members of the National Guard are facing consequences because they refused orders to deploy to major cities during this month's protests.

Like most long-term care facilities, VA nursing homes haven't allowed in-person visitation since early March.

For some veterans, the demonstrations against police violence are a chance to find their voice.

The stones, engraved with swastikas, mark the graves of German POWs who died in the United States during World War II.

In some states, recruiters are reporting an uptick in the number of people who are expressing interest in joining the Guard.

The UCLA study shows broad support among servicemembers for transgender people in the military. But the military still bans transgender people from enlisting.

The transition from classroom to virtual learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for many student veterans, and the worries won't end with the spring semester.

The Navy hospital ship Mercy is in Los Angeles to relieve the burden on the area's medical facilities. But it’s dealing with a growing number of coronavirus cases among members of its crew.

The Irreverent Warriors, seen here holding a 2016 'silkies hike' in Jacksonville, N.C., has been forced to suspend its hikes and hangouts because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sean Berry / U.S. Marine Corps

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most of us into social isolation. But for veterans with mental health issues, staying at home runs counter to advice they've long received to get out and interact with the world.

The VA informed student veterans they may become ineligible for GI Bill education and housing funds if their college transitions from in-person to online classes. Congress has quickly passed a fix.

RecruitMilitary

Kathryn Kuziel sees light at the end of the tunnel. With her husband Alex Kuziel getting out of the 82nd Airborne soon, she’s finally be able to look for a job as an IT project manager without worrying that potential employers will pass her over for someone with more staying power.

For military personnel at the U.S.-Mexico border, including National Guard troops, it's an unusual assignment. Many are quartered in hotels, and their families are allowed to visit.

The Las Vegas center is the VA's second inpatient treatment facility for veterans, who are at higher risk of gambling addiction.

The VA Aid and Attendance benefit can help some vets and spouses pay for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health care. But the application process is often long and complicated.

The peer-counseling programs, which have become common in many cities, may improve mental health, self esteem, and social functioning for veterans who are returning to civilian life.

The MAVNI program allowed non-U.S. citizens to enlist in the armed services if they had foreign language skills or other special expertise. But the program is now at a standstill.

The campaign, which launched in November, emphasizes Army careers in technology, medicine, and other non-combat jobs.

The VA pilot program places federally-backed volunteers in the homes of veterans to help with cooking, cleaning and other low-skill tasks.

A 2019 Department of Defense report concluded that the effects of a changing climate, including wildfires, threaten dozens of military bases.

The VA has eliminated the designated smoking areas at its hospitals, clinics, and other buildings. It's a difficult transition for some patients, visitors, and VA workers.

For an organization that's still strongly associated with entertainers of the past, like Bob Hope, it's a constant challenge to stay relevant to today's service members.

The University of California, Irvine study found that combat exposure is almost as likely to cause grief as it is to lead to PTSD.

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