veterans

Recent government sanctions against predatory for-profit colleges that preyed on veterans by using inflated job promises have opened the window on the wider challenges of helping veterans transition from service to higher education.

Clay Hull has a stubborn sense of justice.

After an improvised explosive device blast in Iraq ended his time in the military, he fought the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs over the amount of compensation they awarded him for his injuries.

"If I'm in the wrong, I'll admit it. But I'm not going to let somebody just push me around, especially the VA," he says.

It was complicated and drawn out, but Hull now gets the maximum the VA pays for disability.

Officers of 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 'Ready First' 1st Armored Division, participate in an urban combat exercise at a training facility on Fort Bliss, Texas in 2011.
Flickr Photo/DVIDSHUB (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1njNs6z

William Kerby was exposed to repeated blasts when he was deployed to Iraq as a Marine infantryman.

“For instance, we were setting off a charge on a door or a gate to blow it open, and there’s nowhere really to go, so you basically turn away from it within a few feet,” Kerby said. “You can feel that kind of concussion, that shockwave, as it goes through your body.”

During World War II, thousands of Americans lied about their age to enlist in the military. During the Iraq war, Daniel Torres lied about something else.

"I didn't want to be just another Mexican living in the U.S. I wanted to say I'd done something for the country," said Torres.

At a warehouse near Dallas, a black Lab named Papi tugs on a rope to open a fridge and passes his trainer a plastic water bottle with his mouth.

Service dogs are often trained to help veterans with physical disabilities. Now, a growing number are being trained to meet the demand from vets with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

Those dogs learn extra tricks — how to sweep a house for intruders, for example, so a veteran feels safe.

Winston-Salem is among a group of cities nationwide that say they've met the White House goal to end veteran homelessness.

Volunteers from the Elks in Seattle and Shoreline pack take away bags for needy vets at a stand down event.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

At 6 a.m. in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, a damp fog hangs in the air.

Green Army surplus sleeping bags, backpacks and boots cover the floor in a large room at Seattle Central College. Volunteers will soon give them to homeless veterans to help them live on the streets.

The give-away became necessary because Seattle didn’t reach a national goal to end veteran homelessness in 2015.

Marine Veteran Vincent Romano with a fellow veteran. Romano served between 1967 and 2006.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Hundreds of local veterans in need of supplies and services queued up at Seattle Central College Thursday. It’s called a “stand down” and is intended to be a one-stop shop for vets who may be homeless.

When I first met Shaun Tullar, he was locked up in the Vista Detention Facility in San Diego County, Calif.

He was being held in what the jail calls the vets pod — a ring of cells for veterans to live together like a military unit. We met in a room that felt like a school classroom, but with military flags on the walls, and guards at the door.

The number of military veterans in the country's jails and prisons continues to drop, a new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows.

It's the first government report that includes significant numbers of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and the findings defy stereotypes that returning war veterans are prone to crime.

In January 1945, in a German POW camp, a U.S. soldier named Roddie Edmonds defied the threat of death to protect the Jewish troops under his command.

Seventy years later, he's being recognized for his valor.

It's the first time a U.S. soldier has been named Righteous Among the Nations, an honor from Israel's Holocaust remembrance and research center reserved for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs

The number of VA Puget Sound patients waiting for home health care soared over the space of six months, making the facility’s wait list the second longest in the nation.

That’s according to a report from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Office of Inspector General.

Marine veteran John Knox arranges fall produce at the Growing Veterans farm stand at the VA Hospital in Seattle. Knox says learning to farm helped him make the transition back to civilian life.
KUOW photo/Patricia Murphy

Army vet Josh Wheeldon can tick off a half-dozen veterans groups he has volunteered with: The Mission Continues, AmeriCorps Vet Corps, Team Rubicon, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, 22Kill, Seattle Stand Down and Team Red White and Blue.

He’s also a lifetime member of the older Veterans of Foreign Wars. But he doesn’t always feel like he fits in there.

Oregon says it's making strides in finding housing for homeless veterans and just announced funding for two new housing projects for vets.

The leadership of the American Legion and VFW is seeking younger, more diverse members. But they face a challenge changing their public image.


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