Patricia Murphy | KUOW News and Information

Patricia Murphy

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2000

Patricia Murphy is a feature reporter for KUOW. Patricia is part of two collaborative projects focusing on military and veterans.  The American Homefront Project is a partnership between public radio stations KUOW, WUNC, KPCC and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Back at Base is a collaboration between National Public Radio and seven member stations including KUOW.  

Patricia is an award-winning radio journalist. Prior to covering veterans and military affairs she reported on social issues and criminal justice. Patricia’s first job in radio news was at WBUR Boston in 1994. She’s worked at KUOW since 2000.

Patricia’s series “Less than Honorable,” investigated how the military handles more than 3,000 sexual assault cases each year. Her 2011 collaboration with the Seattle Times, “The Weight of War,” looked at heavy loads carried by troops and the increase in chronic orthopedic injuries as a result; the series won a national award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism from the Association of Healthcare Journalists. She also received a national Edward R. Murrow Award for a documentary on IV drug use and has had her work recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Society of Professional Journalists.

In 2012, Patricia was inducted into the Dart Society, a network of journalists who cover trauma, conflict and social injustice.

Patricia holds a B.A. from Emerson College in Boston.

Ways to Connect

Gloria Hoeppner holds her VA choice card with her husband Earl Kornbrekke at their home in Friday Harbor, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Twice as many veterans in rural areas will be able to go to a doctor near their home after a policy change made Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The change follows a scathing report less than 24 hours earlier on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," which featured a KUOW story.

Gloria Hoeppner holds her VA choice card with husband Earl Kornbrekke at their home in Friday Harbor, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Gloria Hoeppner, 89, is a Navy veteran who lives with her husband in the San Juan Islands. To see a doctor, she usually has to take a ferry from her home on Friday Harbor. It can take hours.

The Navy uses EA-18G Growlers in electronic warfare.
Flickr Photo/U.S. Pacific Fleet (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Washington state has told the U.S. Navy it can’t use state land to conduct electronic-warfare training on the Olympic Peninsula.

The state Department of Natural Resources gave no reason for the denial, simply saying in a letter that the agency preferred not to partner on the project.

The Navy wants to use mobile electronic emitter trucks on 15 sites on the Olympic Peninsula. The trucks would emit electromagnetic signals for Navy pilots in radar-jamming planes to detect.

Sam Heron is a student and veteran at the University of Washington.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

President Obama asked Congress Wednesday to formally authorize military force to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. But student veterans attending the University of Washington have mixed opinions about a renewed military presence in the Middle East.

The "rock pile" is a popular spot for recreational diving and fishing.
Courtesy of Howard Cunningham

The Navy plans to build a new pier and support buildings on Ediz Hook in Port Angeles, to the chagrin of some locals. One of the proposed sites is right on top of a popular recreational diving and fishing spot.

The $16 million plan includes three proposed sites along the 3-mile sand spit that separates Port Angeles from the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

Veterans Affairs Puget Sound will get $22 million over the next two years and plans to hire more than 120 additional medical personnel for specialties like mental health and geriatric care. 

The money is part of more than $15 billion set aside by Congress to fund the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act. The bill is designed to help veterans access health care more quickly. 

USS Michigan moored at Fleet Activities Yokosuka for a scheduled port visit during a deployment to the western Pacific Ocean in September 2010.
Flickr Photo/US Pacific Command (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The USS Michigan, stationed at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, will be the first submarine to allow enlisted women to serve onboard. 

It’s part of the Navy's plan to have women perform 20 percent of the jobs on mixed gender subs by 2020. The Navy began allowing female officers on subs three years ago. 

File photo of Joint Base Lewis-McChord headquarters.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

It was standing room only at times as around 500 people turned out to voice their concerns to Army leaders about possible cuts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Wednesday night. 

The base has more than 27,000 active duty soldiers and 13,000 civilians. The cuts as proposed would eliminate up to 90,000 positions worldwide. For JBLM, that could mean up to 11,000 soldiers and civilians out of work.

Officials at JBLM say the cuts will likely happen this fall after a decision by the Army in late summer.

The barracks in the controlled monitoring area at JBLM are usually used for housing summer ROTC programs.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

As the Army reduces its force, officials are holding listening sessions around the country to get feedback, including one in Lakewood, Washington, on Wednesday.

The Pentagon is in the process of reducing the active-duty force since the draw down in the Middle East.

The cuts as proposed would eliminate up to 90,000 positions across the force. For Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle, that could mean up to 11,000 soldiers and civilians out of work. The base has more than 27,000 active duty soldiers and 13,000 civilians. That's about a quarter of the jobs connected with the base.

Maj. Dr. Eric Jacobson checks the temperature of a soldier in the controlled monitoring area of Joint Base Lewis-McChord on the morning of Jan. 13, 2015. It was day 13 of the 21 day Ebola monitoring period for the cohort that returned from Liberia.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

The 100 soldiers from Fort Carson’s 615th Engineer Company have their temperature recorded twice a day. They’ve been lining up for these temperature checks for more than two weeks now. They’ve gotten so good at it, the whole battalion can get through the line in 20 minutes.

The ferry pulls in to Friday Harbor, the only incorporated city in San Juan County, Wash. Veterans will often travel the hour-long ferry ride to reach VA services here.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base." This story is part of a three-part series about veteran benefits (Part 1 / Part 2).

For veterans in San Juan County, getting health care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs almost always begins with an hour-long ferry ride.

Officer Andy Gould of Auburn, Washington. Gould, a veteran, says his military experience sometimes helps him establish rapport with other veterans
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

The computer screen in Officer Andy Gould’s patrol car rhythmically ticks off details of emergencies from dispatch.

Gould, a 25-year veteran of the Auburn Police Department, wraps up a burglary and gets called to a suspicious subject nearby. A 13-year-old has threatened to kill two people in the house with a baseball bat.

As Gould drives, text from the dispatchers scrolls up the screen. It tells him where to go for his next call, what the problem is — and whether the people involved have ever been in the military.

Sixteen people being monitored at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the Ebola virus have been cleared by medical personnel.  

The 15 service members and one civilian returned last month from a mission to Liberia in support of Operation United Assistance. 

The group celebrated Thanksgiving in isolation during their 21 days of controlled monitoring.  They were checked twice daily for signs of the virus by Army medical personnel.

A federal audit of a 24-hour national hotline for homeless veterans found that callers didn’t always receive assistance or access to needed services.

The Office of the Inspector General said lapses in management and oversight at the call center led to more than 40,000 missed opportunities to help.

About 200 people marching through downtown Seattle disrupted black Friday holiday shopping and the city’s traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

They marched in the rain, blocking intersections and streets, in protest of a Missouri grand jury’s decision this week to not indict a police officer who fatally shot a black teenager.

The protesters flooded into Westlake shopping center, taking over escalators and lying down on the floor. Seattle police ultimately turned shoppers away.

A map shows where the Navy war training area could be located.
USDA Forest Service

The public has until the end of the week to weigh in on the Navy’s plan to create an electromagnetic warfare range.

The Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range requires permits from the National Forest Service and the State Department of Natural Resources.

An Army sergeant who faced two counts of premeditated murder announced via Twitter he will plead guilty to a lesser charge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Thursday.

Sergeant 1st class Michael Barbera says he will plead guilty to communicating a threat.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle is one of five bases nationwide that will keep troops returning from West Africa in a controlled monitoring environment for 21 days after they return.

KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

The city of Auburn  hosted its 49th annual Veterans Day parade last Saturday. The event has grown significantly over the years. This year’s parade was a tribute to The Military Order of The Purple Heart. With 200 entries the parade stretched for more than a mile. Reporter Patricia Murphy was on scene to capture this audio postcard from the event. 

KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

The King County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after a bottle exploded in a Redmond elementary school parking lot, injuring two bus drivers.

The 2-liter plastic bottle exploded just after 7:30 this morning at Emily Dickinson Elementary School.

No students were injured in the blast, which occurred more than an hour before classes began.

Bomb deputies from the King County Sheriff's Department said it was an acid bomb and that it was not a sophisticated device.

(Stephen Brashear/AP Images for U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Thousands of veterans and service members preparing to leave the military are expected at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this week for a three-day summit.

Amy Czerwinski

Prison is no place to be vulnerable. For inmates with intellectual disabilities, autism or traumatic brain injury, it can be dangerous.

Flickr Photo/U.S. Pacific Fleet (CC-BY-NC-ND)

  The U.S. Forest Service and the Navy is addressing public concerns about a controversial training exercise.

The Navy wants to place electromagnetic radiation emitters at more than a dozen sites on federal and state land in Washington. The real time training would allow pilots to practice finding those signals. 

Flickr Photo/Steve Johnson (CC BY 2.0)

There’s E. coli in the water again on Mercer Island. The island's 62 restaurants  have been ordered to close and people are being told to boil their water for the second time in a week. Schools say they’ll remain open.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

FBI Director James Comey stood flanked by state and local law enforcement while speaking with the media at the bureau’s downtown office yesterday.

It was nearing the end of his workday, and nearing the end of a U.S. field office tour (we’re number 47 of 56 stops) since he took the job just over a year ago.

Return to Oso
KCTS Photo/Aileen Imperial

Gary Ray was the pastor at the Oso chapel in March. While doing work for the church on the morning of Saturday, March 22,  he received a call from another pastor in Darrington. There had been a massive landslide and he should come back, the pastor said. After the slide, Ray provided spiritual and emotional support for a community that prided itself on its strong sense of independence.

More than a hundred veterans turned out for a town hall style meeting hosted by Veterans Administration Puget Sound as an effort to improve care at regional hospitals.

Flickr Photo/Piskami (CC-BY-NC-ND)

State records reveal that in the past two years, four law enforcement departments in Washington state have been suspended from the military surplus program known as 1033.

The government program issues surplus military gear to state and local municipalities who show a need. Under the program, law enforcement agencies can apply to receive everything from Shop-Vacs to mine-resistant vehicles. All they need to pay is the cost of shipping.

KUOW/Kara McDermott

In the last few years, Washington state has received shipments of mine resistant vehicles that were used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

They’re pricey (about $650,000), and they’re tough to drive, but 17 police agencies have one to call their own. Each one weighs about 50,000 pounds.

Patricia Murphy

Sloan Gibson, the deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, was in Seattle on Thursday as part of a national tour listening to employees at facilities run by his agency.

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