Steve Scher talks with Tom Pillow, president of the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association, about a lawsuit filed by state troopers against the Washington State Patrol. The lawsuit claims the agency is breaking the law when military veterans are up for promotions.
When Michael Hartnett was getting kicked out of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was too deep into post-traumatic stress disorder, drugs and alcohol to care as his battalion commander explained to the young man that his career was ending, and ending badly.
"Do you understand what I'm saying to you, son? It's going to be six and a kick," Hartnett recalls the commander telling him.
The "six" was an expected six months of hard labor in the brig. The kick happened at Hartnett's court-martial, and finally woke him up out of the haze.
In many ways, military veterans hold a privileged place in American society, but not all vets have access to what goes along with that privilege. In the past decade of war, more than 100,000 men and women left the military with less than honorable discharges, many due to bad conduct related to post traumatic stress disorder. Once they're kicked out of the military, they lose access to benefits like treatment for PTSD.
Eric Highfill spent five years in the Navy, fixing airplanes for special operations forces. His discharge papers show an Iraq campaign medal and an Afghanistan campaign medal, a good-conduct medal, and that he's a marksman with a pistol and sharpshooter with a rifle.
None of that matters, because at the bottom of the page it reads "Discharged: under other than honorable conditions."
In recent years, companies ranging from JPMorgan Chase to Walmart to Boeing have announced special hiring programs for veterans. Seattle coffee giant Starbucks is the latest.
All of these companies are trying to bring down a stubbornly high unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But to succeed, companies have to take the time to understand the skills of service members.
For Tom Jenkins, a senior at the University of Washington and a veteran of the Air Force, the partial government shutdown has caused double stress: He has been furloughed from his part-time job as a reservist, and he may not receive veteran’s benefits.
As many as 3.5 million people in the United States experience homelessness in a given year. We'll hear a few personal stories about homelessness. In 2007, Steve Scher talked with Lisa Gray-Garcia (aka Tiny), journalist, poet and founder of POOR Magazine and the Poor News Network, Neal Lampi, who was living in a transitional housing program, and Renee Gebre, then living at Seattle Union Gospel Mission’s Women and Children’s Shelter.
The pigeon used to be considered a symbol of peace and fertility. The birds were also a critical component of wartime communication. Yet, now people often consider them rats with wings. Steve Scher talks with Andrew Blechman, an award-winning journalist and author of “Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird,” as well as Dave Cheney from National Bird Control.
Thousands of American soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan during the last decade. Many suffered physical injury as a result. Today we hear first hand stories from members of our military. Steve Scher talked with Lt. John Arthur, Capt. Jeremy McGuffey and Sgt. Christopher Hoyt about life after injury and coming home from war.
For soldiers who are injured or wounded, the process for determining whether they’re eligible for medical retirement is long.
Many, including the Government Accountability Office, say too long.
In a 2012 report to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, the GAO found that soldiers at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord and other military installations were waiting nearly 400 days to get through the system.
If you are a veteran looking for a job in Washington state, employers can’t refuse to hire you because of your military status. That’s because of a 2006 law protecting veterans against discrimination. But in most states that’s not the case. United States Congressman Derek Kilmer (WA-06) wants to change that. Ross Reynolds talks to Representative Kilmer about how his bill would protect all veterans and service members from employer and housing discrimination nationwide.