Military

Sandra Lawson

In 2018, Sandra Lawson became the first openly gay, Black female rabbi in the world. But her path to rabbinical school was far from traditional. Lawson grew up in a Christian household with parents who didn’t get along. When she got to college, she lacked focus and dropped out.

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.

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

An aircraft carrier in open ocean pictured from the top from left
US Navy

Voting by mail is nothing new for military service members. Deployed worldwide at any of the nearly 800 foreign bases, military personnel are offered some exceptions during the elections. Some vote by fax from a battleship, and many sent their ballots weeks ago, after receiving them earlier than most voters, at least 45 days before the election. 

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.

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.

blue and orange light in the sky at night over a metal tower
Antonin Rémond

In 2011, U.S. and Russian leaders signed an updated strategic arms reduction treaty. Unless that agreement, New START, is renewed before February, the two largest nuclear arsenals will be unconstrained for the first time since the height of the Cold War. 

In Annapolis, Md., young men and women in crisp white uniforms and white masks are doing what students here have been doing for 175 years — taking their first steps to becoming officers in the U.S. Navy.

These exercises are a part of the traditional "plebe summer," an intensive crash course that prepares first-year students for the transition to military life. They learn how to salute and march as a unit, along with lots of new lingo: floors are called "decks," toilets are "heads," and the students are "midshipmen."

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

StoryCorps

StoryCorps has been traveling around the country, collecting oral histories in person for years. The impact of COVID-19 means that the archival organization has to get creative. 

An image of a sign for Fort Bragg
Fish Cop / Public Domain

A paratrooper based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina has died after his vehicle rolled over in the country of Syria.

The Fayetteville Observer reports that Sgt. Bryan Mount died on Tuesday.

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

A military member in distress
Alex Pena / U.S. Air Force

A clinical trial of active-duty military members showed for the first time that a known pain treatment can also be effectively used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jeffries stands in uniform next to a sign that reads 'Lindsey Jefferies NC's First Female African AMerican Black Helicopter Pilot for the NC Army National Guard.'
Courtesy of Lindsey Jefferies

Captain Lindsey Jefferies was the first of her six siblings to graduate from college. As a child, her family struggled financially and was constantly on the move in search of better paying jobs and a lower cost of living. She hoped that getting a good education could be a ticket to a more secure future and set the goal of attending UNC-Chapel Hill.

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Washington.
Evan Vucci / AP

They didn't like it when then-candidate Donald Trump criticized John McCain for being captured in combat. They were angrier when Trump, as commander in chief, abandoned Kurdish allies in the Middle East. And they were upset again last month when he threatened to deploy troops against American protesters.

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.

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.

Sarah Blake Morgan / AP

Edward Brown has always found a way to deal with his husband's military deployments in the past, but the most recent one felt different. Instead of an endless parade of family visits and last-minute errands, Brown and Staff Sgt. James Clyde were holed up inside their Fayetteville, North Carolina apartment watching Netflix and making TikTok videos.

When his mandatory two-week quarantine ended last Friday, Clyde made the short drive to Fort Bragg and boarded a plane for a nine-month deployment in the Middle East.

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

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

Lonon faces away from the cemetery while walking away.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

COVID-19 is changing all aspects of life — including the rituals we associate with death. All funerals have been upended, but veterans have now lost one particularly important ceremony: burial with military honors. 

Ivar Lonon holds two boxes containing the cremated remains of his mother and father at Salisbury National Cemetery in Salisbury, N.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Among all the milestones, the key rituals of life being cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic — weddings, baby showers, birthdays — is that iconic last one for military veterans, burial with military honors.

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