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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.  

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. 

Non-citizens are eligible to serve in the U.S. military. But even as veterans, they can still be deported if they commit crimes after they leave the service.

Since 2011, more than 30,000 service members have filed federal complaints about consumer scams. Regulators say troops are frequent targets of predatory lending schemes.

A growing number of homeless veterans are women. But there are few places that specialize in helping them get back on their feet.

To prepare for sophisticated enemies, soldiers are learning to use and defend themselves against cyber weapons.

A towering oak tree draped with Spanish moss offers little relief from the Florida sun as Andrew Lumish scrubs grime from the headstone of a World War I veteran.

"It's pretty messy, pretty dirty," he says. "We're pulling out dirt and biological material that's been here since 1921. So, a lot of elbow grease here."

Lumish, who has so far cleaned about 600 veterans' headstones, says he restores them out of respect for those who died and to learn about how they lived.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The American Homefront Project talks with service members and veterans about who they're remembering this Memorial Day.

Memorial Day can be especially difficult for relatives of service members who died by suicide. They often feel stigmatized, even around other military families.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

There are a variety of ways to honor the fallen this Memorial Day, several are listed below. Orginally, it was called Decoration Day, named after the practice of families and citizens who “decorated” the Civil War graves of fallen troops with wreaths and flowers.

Library of Congress / Veterans History Project

As Memorial Day approaches, the Library of Congress is calling on families and friends of those who served in uniform to help preserve their stories.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The teenagers graduating this spring were still in diapers when terrorists attacked the United States September 11, 2001. Yet, many of the high school graduates are stepping up to join the military despite the ongoing "war against terror" and recent tensions in Syria and North Korea.

U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs

It was approved almost three years ago, and finally, construction could begin soon on a 120-bed VA nursing home in St. Lucie County. 

The Roldan Family

Despite the growing number of women in the military, the Pentagon does not track how many deployed women are also mothers. It also doesn’t count the number of deployed fathers.

But being a parent and simultaneously serving your country can create challenges especially when deployed.

U.S. Air Force

Sonic booms surprised residents across central Florida  Sunday morning due to the landing of a top-secret military space plane at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

The X-37B is a classified, un-crewed Air Force space plane that touched down at Kennedy Space Center's shuttle landing facility. Not much is known about the 29 foot long robotic spacecraft, its space missions or what it delivered into space.

The debilitating effects of post traumatic stress are well documented. But studies suggest that surviving trauma might also lead to personal growth.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A new administrator at the Bay Pines Healthcare System is being credited by veterans for resolving a paperwork snafu that had some low income VA clients being billed for medications they should have gotten for free.

Thousands of military households rely on government food assistance programs, but the Pentagon doesn't track how many service members have trouble feeding their families.

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