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

Washington Warrior Widows Founder Stephanie Groepper, left, stopped for a break alongside friend Amber Martini and new member Danielle Williams during a hike to Mima Mounds Natural Preserve.
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

War widows can be seen as a living symbol of patriotism. A reminder of the ultimate sacrifice of service.

But practically speaking, life for military widows and widowers is awash in grief, uncertainty and paperwork.

A group run by widows in Washington state has created a supportive social network to ease that burden. 

Former Navy linguist Linsdsay Church holds military ID tags for her grandfather, mother and her.  The two later tags contain social security numbers. Her grandfather's  tags pre-date the miltary's use of SSN for IDs.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

A massive data breach at the federal Office of Personnel Management has exposed the Social Security numbers and personnel records of nearly every federal worker. The implications for federal employees, military service members and the intelligence community could be extraordinary.  

But at a very basic level U.S. service members have been at high risk for identity theft for decades.

A photomicrograph of Bacillus anthracis bacteria using Gram-stain technique.
CDC

The list of locations with labs that may have mistakenly been sent potentially live anthrax samples keeps growing.

Last week the Pentagon announced that labs in California, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin received the samples. The Pentagon has now added labs in Washington state and Canada to the list. 

Col. Kenneth Trzepkowski, chief of palliative care at Madigan Army Medical Center, unfolds one of the handmade quilts donated to the hospital for the palliative care patients.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Caring for the nation's veterans at the end of their lives can be a complex task. Service members — especially combat veterans — can struggle with guilt, abandonment and regret.

The Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs are working to help them. At one Army hospital in Tacoma, its mission is to make those last days meaningful.

Courtesy of George Patterson and Dave Cable

Lt. James Patterson, better known as Kelly, is missing in action.

Patterson went MIA 48 years ago, after his plane was shot down near Hanoi during the Vietnam War.

Children aboard this World Airways DC-8 jet were evacuated from Vietnam on April 2, 1975, shortly before the fall of Saigon and two days before the first official Operation Babylift flight. One child was Thanh Jeff Ghar (center, lying by a window), 12.
Photo as exhibited at the Presidio's Operation Babylift: Perspectives & Legacies exhibition at the Officers' Club, courtesy of the AP

It was April 2, 1975, and flight attendant Jan Wollett was at a bar in Saigon. Her flight crew had been told they wouldn’t board passengers that day – they would carry children out of Vietnam instead.

Wollett lined the floor of the plane with blankets because it had no seats. During takeoff, every adult had their arms around the youngest children, she says.

A view inside the Washington National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility on Joint Base Lewis McChord in February. As Congress cuts $500 billion from the Defense Department budget, the National Guard and active Army are competing for the same dollars.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Inside the hangar at Washington state's Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Army National Guard mechanics are busy maintaining a neat line of Blackhawks.

Some of the Washington Guard's Chinook helicopters have flown in every war since Vietnam and they have the bullet holes to prove it.

Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs

VA Puget Sound broke ground on a new mental health and research facility Wednesday.

It’s the first new structure on the VA's Seattle campus since 1988.

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

The suicide rate among recent veterans is about 50 percent higher than non-veterans with similar demographics. But a study published Wednesday found that deploying to a war zone didn't necessarily increase a service members’ suicide risk.

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.

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