The American Homefront Project | Texas Public Radio

The American Homefront Project

The American Homefront Project features reporting on military life and veterans issues.

We're visiting bases to chronicle how troops are working and living. We're meeting military families. We're talking with veterans to learn about the challenges they face. We cover major policy issues at the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs, and we report on family issues service members and veterans experience in their daily lives. From the youngest military recruits to the veterans of World War II, we're reporting in-depth stories about Americans who serve.

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During the eight months they've been deployed at the U.S.-Mexico border, military personnel have had little direct contact with the people at the center of the mission.

Congress is considering legislation to encourage "outdoor therapy" for veterans with injuries or post-traumatic stress. Volunteer groups are already running similar programs in national parks.

 

Raul Guerra was adopted, so his DNA couldn't be matched to blood relatives. Scientists instead turned to an emerging technique that linked his bones to the drinking water in the places he grew up.

Libby Denkmann / American Homefront

Similiar debates have played out elsewhere, as sports stadiums that were originally built as memorials to veterans take on new corporate names.

To help fund a $300 million makeover of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the University of Southern California and the NFL's Rams play, USC announced last year it would rename the stadium "The United Airlines Memorial Coliseum."

But not everyone is happy about the name change, which has drawn increasing public attention in recent weeks.

While President Trump pushes Congress to create a new military branch called the Space Force, the Pentagon is about to choose a permanent home for its existing Space Command.

LIBBY DENKMANN / AMERICAN HOMEFRONT

The VA Mission Act hopes to improve upon the Choice program, which ran over budget and didn't do much to reduce wait times for many veterans.

 

As often as she can, Judi Robinson raises an American flag outside her rambler-style house in Long Beach, Cal. She doesn't keep it up overnight, and she's careful about storage and handling of the national emblem.

"I'm a real stickler for flag etiquette," she said as she unfurled the stars and stripes. "I was a Girl Scout, I was a Marine, and now I'm a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution."

President Trump is considering sending a new round of troops to the southern border. The military withdrew some service members from the border in December, after they laid miles of concertina wire – large steel coils with razor-sharp teeth.

Kathryn Fink | American Homefront

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.

Dan Boyce / American Homefront

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.

Ted Eytan / Wikimedia

The policy bans transgender recruits and prevents current troops from transitioning to another sex unless they were diagnosed with gender dysphoria before April 12.

The Defense Department has implemented a Trump administration policy that bars transgender recruits from joining the military. The policy took effect April 12, though several lawsuits challenging it are pending in federal courts.

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