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.

Advocates say the Army is too quick to write off soldiers as deserters when they don't show up for duty. That can delay searches when a service member disappears because of an accident, suicide, or abduction.

President Roosevelt opened all branches of the military to Black troops in 1941, but for African-American service members like Luther Hendricks, racism still was prevalent.

Medical facilities run by the Department of Veterans Affairs are reopening at a slower pace than many civilian health systems. But the VA has recently started to expand in-person care.

Veterans traditionally are more likely to vote for Republican candidates. But polls suggest their support for President Trump has eroded.

Following Guillen's killing, the Army launched an independent investigation into the climate of Fort Hood, but critics say the problems are systemic.

Like many college classes, ROTC training is mostly online because of the pandemic. But some cadets have resumed limited in-person training.

Military personnel have been voting by mail since the Civil War. This year, some polls suggest that troops' political preferences may be changing.

The 159-year-old military newspaper, which is published by the Department of Defense, has been targeted for elimination by some Pentagon leaders.

U.S. Navy Mess Attendant First Class Doris Miller speaking during his war bond tour stop at the Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Ill. on Jan. 7, 1943.
U.S. Navy photo courtesy of the National Archives

Henry Kissinger called supercarriers "100,000 tons of diplomacy," and that power has long been reflected in the Navy's conventions for naming them. Most are named for U.S. presidents. The USS John F. Kennedy. The Reagan. The Lincoln.The Navy now is quietly charting a new course.

A supercarrier now on the drawing boards will be christened the USS Doris Miller.

The newly introduced bill would make sexual harassment a crime under military law. The measure is a response to the killing of Fort Hood Army soldier Vanessa Guillen this summer.

The One Navy Task Force is looking at why only a handful of African Americans reach top jobs. It's also examining discrimination in all aspects of Navy life.

A group of VA psychologists across the country have formed race-based stress and trauma support groups for veterans of color.

"Top Gun: Maverick" is scheduled for release next year. But perceptions of the military and warfare have changed since the original iconic movie premiered in 1986.

The military issued a "stop movement" order in March in response to the pandemic. While the ban has been loosened, some service members and their families still can't relocate to new bases.

The pandemic is posing challenges for the more than 460 veterans treatment courts across the country. The courts seek to rehabilitate veterans charged with nonviolent crimes, rather than put them behind bars.

As overwhelmed health departments call for help, National Guard members have been deployed to help run COVID19 testing sites and assist nursing homes.

Advocates are calling attention to statistics that show Black airmen are brought up for punishment more often than their white counterparts. The Air Force says it's trying to figure out why.

Service members with HIV are suing the military over a longstanding policy that prohibits them from deploying or commissioning as officers.

More than 30 states have asked the National Guard to help safeguard the 2020 election from cyber threats.

The VA sanctioned encampment provides basic services to homeless veterans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It's drawn mixed reactions from homeless advocates.

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.

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