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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.  

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Among the many bills to be considered during Florida’s 2018 legislative session is legislation that would offer alternative treatments to veterans with post-traumatic stress.

A new program in Los Angeles is trying to provide female veterans with health care outside the VA, which some consider a male dominated environment.

This month’s mass shooting at a Texas church has raised questions of whether the military does enough to help former service members with bad conduct discharges. They're not eligible for veterans' mental health care.  

Naval History and Heritage Command / USDoN

A memorial inscribed with the names of 520 Hillsborough County residents killed during World War II will be dedicated Dec. 7, 2017 as part of a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony. It's the 76th anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack that marked the United States official entry into the war.

The new veterans ID cards were mandated by a 2015 law. But some veterans groups are raising questions about the possibility that the cards will include corporate branding.

AMVETS

It might seem a bit surprising – but there is no standardized Identification Card for veterans. Military retirees with 20 years or more service have their own ID card. And veterans who use VA health services have another. But there was no ID card for all veterans - until now.

Though the federal government has no current plans to downsize the number of military bases, local communities aren't taking any chances.

AMVIC

The United States will mark the 76th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the country’s official entry into World War II on Dec. 7, 2017. And Tampa’s own World War II American Victory Ship plans to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day with a cruise Saturday, Dec. 2.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

States are competitive whether they’re vying to keep their military bases or to attract new corporate headquarters. And now, there’s a new tug of war over military retirees who come with pensions, health care and are a proven workforce.

Florida, already a retirement haven, is adding veteran specific programs to entice even more military retirees to the Sunshine State.

If you can’t make it to a Veterans Day parade or ceremony, there are other ways to show your appreciation for the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. Here are a few suggestions - you can practice them year-round:

James A. Haley VA

Special ceremonies throughout the Tampa Bay region, Florida and the nation will recognize the sacrifices of those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and those who are currently active-duty.

You can find Veterans Day events celebrated nationwide at the Department of Veterans Affairs website. For local, regional and statewide observances, check the listings below. More will be added, so, check back often.

A month and a half after hurricane Maria, the VA Caribbean Healthcare system is delivering care in unconventional ways. And it's helping veterans whose PTSD was triggered by the storm.

Many residents are making daily visits to distribution sites, where the Army has set up portable water purification systems.

Removing pythons helps the ecology of the Everglades - and helps veterans transition from the battlefield to civilian life.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Hillsborough County veterans with outstanding traffic tickets or past due court costs are being given a chance to resolve their minor legal issues.

Hillsborough County is holding a one-day, Veterans Outreach Court Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at the James A. Haley Primary Care VA Annex, 13515 Lake Terrace Lane, Tampa.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

In the middle of the 300-foot black stone wall, Linda Bessie used a pen to etch the name her late sister's fiancé, John D. Andrade, onto paper.

He died in the Vietnam War when he was 20.

A North Carolina-based engineering battalion is making slow progress repairing roads that were blocked or damaged in Hurricane Maria. But months of work lies ahead.

Human error is likely to be among the causes of two separate collisions involving Navy destroyers. The accidents killed 17 sailors.

Congressman John Rutherford, R-Florida, is spearheading an effort to bring more workforce training to returning veterans.

The measure would create a matching grant program housed in the Department of Veteran Affairs.


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. 

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