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.  

Transitioning into civilian life and a civilian career can require some major changes for military members.

Some are connecting to new jobs and career opportunities in the civilian world through LinkedIn, an online social media used primarily by professionals and business people.

“Wow!” was Julie McAdoo’s reaction when she first learned about LinkedIn at a South Tampa Chamber of Commerce presentation.

Florida is one of the top “hot spots” for homeless veterans making it the focus of VA officials who have the stated goal of ending veteran homelessness by December 2015. The others are Texas, California and New York.

With less than two years to accomplish that Herculean task of ending veterans homelessness, more than 60 advocates, experts and service providers met in Tampa this week to share details about programs with a record of successfully moving  veterans into permanent housing.

Department of Defense

If you live in the Tampa Bay region and have a free Tuesday (April 16, 2013) evening, you’re invited to be a part of the welcome home crowd at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport, 14700 Terminal Blvd, Clearwater.

At approximately 8:30 p.m., the West Central Florida Honor Flight is scheduled to return after a full day in Washington D.C. where 80 WWII veterans and their escorts visited memorials that honor their military service.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

About 150 University of South Florida graduates this May will wear a red-white-and-blue cord on their gowns as they pick up their diplomas. The cord signifies their service as a military veteran.

The graduates are transitioning into a civilian world where post-9/11 veterans have a higher unemployment rate than the national average. And some veterans feel their military service is counted against them when they apply for jobs.

“They were telling me nobody wants to hire us and that’s really not true,” said Kelly Myers, a Chase first vice president and district manager.

The discovery of a hidden camera in the room of a brain-damaged veteran at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center last year has led to new legislation in Congress filed Thursday.

The chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Jeff Miller of Florida, introduced the Veterans’ Privacy Act. 

Optimistic Veterans, Reservists Flood Job Fair

Apr 9, 2013
Maryam Saleh / WUSF Public Media

About 200 Tampa veterans and military spouses gathered at the Ragan Community Center in Tampa today. They met with potential employers at Hiring Our Heroes, a job fair hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as they searched for opportunities to transition back to civilian life.

Jorge Hoyos is a reservist with the U.S. Air Force. He's held contracting jobs in the past, but is now looking for a job with more stability, and an opportunity for growth.

Hiring Our Heroes / US Chamber of Commerce

Job fairs for veterans, coordinated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have made a mark over the last 21 months.

Between March 2011 and December 2012, the Hiring Our Heroes project held 388 job fairs where more than 18,000 veterans and military spouses got jobs according to a new report.

And the job fairs continue.

The State of Florida is looking to honor military veterans who have made significant contributions through civic, business, public service or other pursuits.

The Florida Veterans Hall of Fame is not a military hall of fame. Nominees will be considered for their contributions to the community of Florida and civilian accomplishments made during or after their military service.

Preference will be given to nominees born in Florida and those who adopted Florida as their home state.

Bay Pines VA

Here’s an opportunity for homeless veterans in Pinellas County, as well as veterans in need of help with employment, medical care or legal issues.

A "Stand Down" is scheduled Saturday, April 6, 2013, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m at Bay Pines VA, 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., Bay Pines, Fla.

Master Sgt. Cohen Young / U.S. Air Force

Air Force Capt. James Michael Steel, 29, of Tampa, FL, died Wednesday when his F-16 crashed near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan according to a news release from the Department of Defense.

Steel was assigned to the 77th Fighteter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. which is providing close-air support for U.S. and coalition forces on ground in Afghanistan.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A baby pillow pattern that comforted Marines on the frontlines in Iraq is now serving to soften the lives of homeless veterans.

The handmade pillow measures 12 by 16 inches. It’s sewn from light cotton fabric in many colors and stuffed, not too fully, so it can be rolled.

The pillow is the signature item of the Tampa Area Marine Parents Association (T.A.M.P.A.). Members have been making pillows in patriotic colors for nine years and sending them out with all their care packages for deployed military.

Tracy Crow

Women have been a part of the United States military dating back to the Revolutionary War. However, their visibility was heightened recently with the announcement of the lifting of the ban of women in combat.

Ever wonder what it was like serving as a woman Marine officer a few decades ago just as the cultures were changing? Here's your chance to hear about it first hand.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A soft and comfortable place to lay your head - that's a simple request and it's a need that Cyd Deathe hopes to fulfill for 200 homeless veterans.

Cyd is president of  the Tampa Area Marine Parents Association and a proud mom of OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) Wounded Warrior Veteran LCpl Adam, USMC 03-07.

She's committed to providing 200 pillows for the Homeless Veterans Stand Down scheduled April 5-7 in Tallahassee. That's this Friday through Sunday, so time is short.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Special Forces are considered the military’s elite - the Rangers, Green Berets, and Navy SEALS among others.  And the elite of the elite are the Special Forces who have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

Two of them were recognized this week and their names added to the Special Operations Memorial Wall of Honor at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry, an Army Ranger, watched as his name was unveiled. It is one of 45 names etched into the black granite tiles.

Stepping out of the shadows and into the spotlight for one of the first times since he resigned from his job last November because of an extramarital affair, former CIA Director David Petraeus said Tuesday night he is "keenly aware that the reason for my recent journey was my own doing."

Bruce Hockensmith / Lutz Patriots

The Tampa Bay community honored another of its fallen warriors Monday which included the traditional Fallen Hero motorcycle escort by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office along Bayshore Boulevard and into downtown Tampa.

Army Specialist Zachary L. Shannon of Dunedin, 21, died on March 11, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The man who led the troops into Iraq and then oversaw their withdrawal in 2011 is the new commander at U.S. Central Command based at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base.

General Lloyd Austin, III, officially took control at CENTCOM Friday during a ceremony officiated by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

“With his calm demeanor, strategic vision, regional experience and knowledge, and proven judgment,” Hagel said, “I am confident General Austin is prepared to lead this command at a time of dramatic change, challenge, and turmoil in its area of responsibility.”

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Over the next five years, it’s estimated that more than a million soldiers, seamen, airmen and Marines will leave the military. Many of those veterans will transition into college using their Post 9/11 G-I Bill education benefits.

And that growing number of student veterans is leading to an increased number of Student Veterans of America campus chapters.

Photo courtesy of the Gordon family.

National Public Radio featured a St. Petersburg female soldier in its first piece for a series on "Women in Combat."

Reporter Quil Lawrence talks to the father of  Spc. Brittany Gordon who was killed in October 2012 while on a mission to meet with Afghan intelligence, north of Kandahar.

A business survey of veterans who are transitioning back into civilian life reveals many would like to start or run their own business.

While the military provides rigorous training and discipline, it's not exactly the place to learn skills on how to succeed in business.

That’s the territory of an experienced businessman like Jack Grise who has created and sold two different businesses. He did a stint in the Navy when he was young and now wants to share business knowledge with veterans who want to start their own companies.