Military

This photo of the red-cockaded woodpecker was taken on July 31, 2019
Greg Lavaty / via Flickr

The red-cockaded woodpecker has been listed as endangered for more than half a century, but that could soon change.

In the final months of the Trump administration, federal wildlife officials started a process to downgrade its status to “threatened.” 

Conservation groups say science doesn’t support the move, and that it could undermine gains made in part with the help of unusual public-private partnerships that have taken decades of work and millions of dollars.

A photo of Sontina and Reggie Barnes
Sontina Barnes

When Sontina Barnes joined the Army in 1993, she was looking for something new.

“I was a junior at N.C. State and I was burned out,” she recalled.

At the time, she was working three jobs on top of school.

The Marine Corps established Wounded Warrior Battalions to aid troops with the worst mental and physical injuries. But Marines in the battalions who are suicidal or suffer from PTSD can still be discharged for misconduct. 

Though President Biden signed an executive order allowing transgender people to serve in the military, would-be recruits are waiting for the Pentagon to develop policies before they can enlist.

At a drive-through vaccination site in Elizabeth City, N.C., Tech Sgt. Steven Simpson of the North Carolina National Guard administers a COVID-19 vaccination as Maj. Hollis Guenther gives the next recipient instructions about the vaccine.
Jay Price / WUNC

North Carolina is among more than a dozen states that have called up the National Guard to help at vaccination sites, and Joe Biden may mobilize Guard units nationally.


NC Military Voices: Tarsha Burroughs

Jan 15, 2021
A photo of Tarsha Burroughs
Tarsha Burroughs

Raleigh resident and Purple Heart veteran Tarsha Burroughs decided to join the Army Reserves after studying education. She was in the middle of teaching a high school math class when she got the call to prepare for deployment.

A VA Inspector General's report has found that the agency improperly denied benefits to thousands of veterans who couldn't see a doctor during the pandemic.

Anita says all the time "what's personal is political." So, she's interested to see how a new presidential administration will affect the ability of transgender Americans to serve in the U.S. military, which has long suffered from barriers to equity for troops and veterans from marginalized communities.

  

A photo of Ted and Brittany Corcoran
Ted Corcoran

When Ted Corcoran joined the Army in 2000, he needed a steady job and a place to live.  

"I wish I had a noble reason for joining the military, but in reality, I was very poor, and I didn't have a whole lot of options," Corcoran said.

He trained to be a medic so he would have a skill set that he could immediately put to use in the civilian world. As he neared the end of his stint in the Army, he was working as an EMT and preparing to transition out of the reserves. He never expected to be sent to Iraq.

But in 2005, he got a letter in the mail telling him to prepare for deployment."It was a real simple choice, it was show up a Fort Jackson, or there will be a warrant put out for your arrest for desertion," Corcoran said.At first, he thought he'd just keep his head down and focus on the mission, but as his work roles changed during his deployment, his world view changed as well.  


Months of physical distancing and pandemic anxiety has been especially tough on veterans who were already dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related injuries.

Anita is all kinds of in love with her newborn niece, a relationship that has her thinking more about motherhood. Her thoughts on the matter are at least somewhat informed by listening to "The Double Shift" podcast, which challenges the status quo for moms. This episode explores the roles of gender and community in raising kids through the story of a transgender man named Ted. Plus, Anita extends an invitation for a virtual hangout.


Native Americans join the military at a high rate, but some struggle with the military's role in displacing and subjugating Indigenous people throughout the nation's history.

The National Mall in Washington, D.C. is generally quiet these days, as the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic keeps people home and the Smithsonian museums shuttered.

President-elect Joe Biden's administration is poised to effect significant change to U.S. military culture.

The incoming commander-in-chief has announced his nomination for defense secretary: retired, four-star general Lloyd Austin. If confirmed, Austin would become the nation's first Black defense secretary. Biden has also pledged to lift a near-total ban on transgender people serving in the military when he takes office in 2021.

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

Officials at the Army’s largest base have identified the two men whose bodies were found in a training area this week.


Burnout is a common problem for family members who care for disabled veterans. And for many of them, the pandemic has made things even harder.

More than 50 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers are involved in trials to test vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, and the agency is calling on vets to volunteer.

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.

Pages