American Homefront

In early 2017, WUSF joined the national American Homefront project, a national collaborative covering military life and veterans issues.

We're visiting bases to chronicle how American troops are working and living. We're meeting military families. We're talking with veterans -- in their homes, on their jobs, at school, at VA hospitals -- to learn about the challenges they face.

Partners in the project include WUSF, KPBS in San Diego and North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC.

The American Homefront project in Tampa builds on the success of WUSF's Off The Base project, which was created through a 2010-2011 Rosalynn Carter Fellowship to build a bridge between the civilian community and active-duty military, veterans and their families.

American Homefront receives support from: The Bob Woodruff Foundation, dedicated to ensuring that post-9/11 injured service members, veterans, and their families make a successful transition.  

In the Vietnam War era, Americans became more interested in recovering missing troops -- largely because of the activism of some military families.

The well-equipped medevac helicopters that transported injured troops in Vietnam became the model for today's air ambulance services in the U.S.

The 927th Air Refueling Wing

Thousands of American military personnel are now assigned to the Hurricane Maria relief effort. Among them is the 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron based at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base.

Air Force Major Gavril Goodman was on one of the first humanitarian evacuation flights that landed in St. Croix five days after the Category 5 hurricane destroyed the island's power grid.

Tech Sgt Peter Dean / U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force is helping to evacuate critically ill and injured patients from three Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. One of the first evacuation flights left from Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base Sunday with a crew of Air Force Reservists from the 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

The military has more than 130 bands with more than 6000 musicians. But their cost – about a half-billion dollars a year – has made them a target for budget cutters in Congress and at the Pentagon.

The ten-part documentary by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick is at times graphic, and people who work with veterans say it may trigger traumatic memories for those who fought in Vietnam.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The tragic deaths of eight nursing home residents after Irma knocked out their air conditioning has prompted the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs to offer up available beds at federal VA Community Living Centers.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Only  ”mission essential” personnel  are on duty at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base through Monday. All others and their families have been ordered to evacuate the base ahead of Hurricane Irma.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Hurricane Irma evacuations now involve more than South Florida residents taking to the roads.

The 6th Air Mobility Wing at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base is temporarily evacuating its KC-135 refueling planes to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.

For U.S. troops in Vietnam, the "China Beach" surfing spot provided a rare recreational outlet during the war. Some still seek healing from the waves.

Military families move a lot, and that makes it hard for service members’ spouses to hold steady jobs. About half of military spouses are either unemployed or underemployed – and that can take a toll on their families, their earning power, and the economy. 

Stetson University

Veterans’ issues were among the few things Congress agreed upon – before taking their August recess. That included senators confirming three new judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims to reduce the massive backlog of disputed veterans’ claims.

28 people have been charged so far in the so-called "Fat Leonard" bribery scandal. While the Navy has beefed up its ethics training, it also faces longstanding cultural challenges.

While the public is normally urged to “thank a Veteran” they meet, the head of Florida’s Department of Veterans' Affairs also wants people to ask a state vet about their earned federal and state health benefits.

The United States and Japan have been allies and strategic partners since World War II, but an effort to move and expand a Marine Corps base in Okinawa is causing friction with locals.

U.S. military units have long used technology like night vision goggles to enhance their sense of sight.

Now they're trying to get a battlefield edge with their ears, too.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with quieted-down weapons and electronic hearing enhancements that could reshape the soundscape of warfare. They want to minimize some sounds and amplify others to get more control over what they and their enemies hear.

A growing number of veterans are acquiring service dogs to help cope with PTSD. But the VA won’t pay for them and says their effectiveness hasn’t been scientifically proven.

13,000 Afghans who helped American troops are waiting for special visas to come to the U.S. Their lives could be in danger as they wait.

A west coast group is using youth theater to tell the stories of an often forgotten group of children -- kids who grow up in military families.

Hundreds of veterans - who served in the U.S. military as non-citizens - were later deported for committing civilian crimes. 

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