Veterans & Military | KERA News

Veterans & Military

Veterans and their families can also browse KERA's resource list of job boards, crisis and advice lines, health information, housing and legal assistance, social opportunities, training programs and groups offering VA system navigation: kera.org/vets.

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A free legal clinic for retired U.S. military veterans with service disabilities opens Thursday afternoon in Dallas.

It will be the 50th free clinic offered by Metroplex Veterans Legal Services. The nonprofit launched six years ago to help veterans get services they need and are entitled, but often don’t know about, says attorney and founder Joan Gillham.

Courtesy / Tarrant County Veterans Council

Cities across North Texas are marking this Veterans Day with parades honoring service men and women.

A San Antonio duo has created an altar in honor of military service members who have passed on. It will be featured at the Pearl's Día de los Muertos celebration on Nov. 1 and 2. 


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Transitioning from military to civilian life is notoriously challenging. For female veterans, the process involves several unique barriers, many that are just now being acknowledged. 

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Close to 1,500 volunteers scattered across North Texas Wednesday to tackle service projects in honor of 9/11.

A team dispatched to Rockwall was determined to clean, organize — and beautify.

The children of some U.S. military members and government workers overseas will have a harder time getting citizenship under a Trump administration policy announced Wednesday.

The changes will affect a relatively small number of people. But the announcement touched off widespread confusion and outrage — with immigrant and veterans' advocates questioning why the administration would change the rules for people who are serving their country.

Syeda Hasan

At the Terrell State Hospital, about 30 miles east of Dallas, there are now 20 more inpatient beds for veterans in need of psychiatric care.

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is working to make health care more efficient and accessible. The MISSION Act, which went into effect last month, allows those enrolled in the VA health care system to visit approved "community care providers."

Spouses of fallen U.S. service members are facing financial burdens that aren’t likely to go away unless Congress takes action on what’s known as the “widow’s tax.”

In late May, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to help veterans exposed to open-air burn pits. It would create a state registry of health and exposure information and use it for outreach purposes. Now, advocates and state officials are wondering how — if at all — they’ll share that information with the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Updated at 7:13 p.m. ET

The U.S. Army issued a tweet ahead of Memorial Day weekend with a question for service members and veterans: "How has serving impacted you?"

Among the thousands of responses: harrowing tales of trauma, depression and sexual assault.

In a thread, an Army tweet that preceded the question featured a video by Pfc. Nathan Spencer, a scout with the Army's First Infantry Division.

Texas is one of just three states that did not sign onto a letter sent Friday to Secretary Betsy DeVos asking the U.S. Department of Education to automatically forgive student loans for eligible disabled veterans. 

Starting this October, the Defense Health Agency will take control of all San Antonio-area military medical facilities, including Brooke Army Medical Center, from each of their respective commands.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

A secretive group of scientists who advise the U.S. government on everything from spy satellites to nuclear weapons is scrambling to find a sponsor after the Defense Department abruptly ended its contract late last month.

The group, known as the Jasons, will run out of money at the end of April. The Pentagon says that the group's advice is no longer needed, but independent experts say it has never been more relevant and worry the department is throwing away a valuable resource.

After years of complaints, the Pentagon is trying to reform the way it manages the moving process for military families. The current system is plagued by delays, lost shipments, theft, and lack of accountability.

The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant is the military's primary provider of small-caliber ammunition, such as the .50-caliber rounds seen here.
Chris Haxel / Guns & America

Two years after an explosion at a crucial Army factory that is the country's largest producer of small-caliber ammunition, the true cause of Lawrence Bass Jr.'s death remains unclear.

Recreational marijuana use is now legal in ten states, but it remains off-limits to service members ... and some military communities don't want it to be sold anywhere near bases. 

As more states legalize recreational marijuana, there's at least one place where the rules haven't changed: the military. Active service members are strictly forbidden to use marijuana, whether it's recreational or medicinal.

World War II pilot Dick Cole, the last surviving member of the Doolittle Raid, died last week at age 103.

Cole was renowned aviation pioneer Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot in April 1942 on what was regarded as a suicide mission – the first counterattack against the Japanese mainland after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid caused Japan to contract its forces and start a battle with the United States over Midway Atoll, a small ring shaped island between North America and Asia. This battle, which the U.S. won, shifted the tide of the war into America's favor.

 L to R: Lt. Henry A. Potter; pilot Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle; Staff Sgt. Fred A. Braemer; Cole; and Staff Sgt. Paul J. Leonard. Co-pilot Lt. Richard E. Cole, second from right, was the last of the 80 airmen from the daring raid after Pearl Harbor.
U.S. Air Force

Hundreds of Air Force airmen will line the main entrance of the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph to salute while family of Retired Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole — the last of the 80 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders — arrives for his memorial service.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A hero of the Second World War died yesterday. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Dick Cole was 103. He was the last of what were known as the Doolittle Raiders.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The Sad State Of Military Housing

Mar 8, 2019

From Texas Standard:

More active-duty members of the military live and work in Texas than in any other state besides California. Many live in military housing, which have largely been run by private contractors since the 1990s. A series of explosive reports by Reuters last year found hazards from mold to vermin infestations and lead paint. Yet contractors continued to get rich as military families suffered. Now, Pentagon officials are promising change, including a possible tenant bill of rights for military personnel.

There has not been a military draft in the United States since conscription was ended in 1973. Still, all men, whether citizens or residents of the United States, are required to register with the selective service once they turn 18.

A traveling memorial that pays tribute to those who lost their lives during the Vietnam War arrived at San Antonio’s Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery Thursday. Known as “The Wall That Heals,” it is a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and includes the names of more than 58,000 service members who perished in the line of duty.

Army Spc. Hugh Gary Bryan was buried Wednesday with full military honors at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen.

New security measures at the Department of Defense that limit the release of military records about U.S. troops deployed abroad could put the accuracy of the 2020 census "at risk," according to a newly released internal Census Bureau document.

Requiring only men to register for the draft is unconstitutional, a federal judge has ruled.

The Military Selective Service Act states that men in the U.S. ages 18 through 25 must register in case the country needs a military draft. Women face no such requirement. On Friday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that a males-only draft violates the equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

flag-draped coffin - veteran suicide
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A recent report from the Washington Post, titled "The Parking Lot Suicides," looks into the disturbing trend of veterans dying by suicide on the property of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A North Texas nonprofit has developed a program to combat veteran suicides.

Military communities around the country are looking at the potential impact of President Trump’s state of emergency declaration.

The president declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday to secure up to $8 billion in funding for a barrier on the southern border – more than four times what Congress approved.

In San Diego officials are eyeing the long-term costs of the Trump administration’s decision to pull $3.6 billion of that $8 billion from the military construction budget to use for the wall along the border.

Updated at 5:32 p.m. ET

President Trump pushed forward Tuesday with his plan to launch a space force as a new branch of the military. But it would at first be under the umbrella of the Air Force, and it requires approval of Congress — which is far from certain.

This represents at least a temporary shift. Trump had stated that he wanted a space force that is "separate but equal" from the Air Force.

Congress is keeping watch and the military has introduced prevention programs. Yet sexual assaults at military service academies keep rising. The leaders of those academies got an earful when they testified before a House Armed Services subcommittee on Wednesday.

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