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.

Funding for The American Homefront Project comes from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting

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BEN MCKEOWN / AMERICAN HOMEFRONT

Among all the milestones, the key rituals of life being cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic — weddings, baby showers, birthdays — is that iconic last one for military veterans, burial with military honors.


SARAYUTH PINTHONG / U.S. AIR FORCE

For recruits in Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, typical mornings used to start with a pre-dawn wake up to the sound of reveille, quickly followed by an intense workout, breakfast, showers and chores.

Trainees lived and exercised in close proximity. Recruits would hold one another's ankles while doing sit-ups, circle the running track together, and chow down at eating facilities at the same time. Sleeping bays were normally packed with about 60 people.

It was all part of a time-honored system the Air Force used to produce new troops.

The Navy has suspended some activities and restricted others to help stop the spread of COVID-19, but the military response to the pandemic can seem uneven at times.

The VA is now screening patients for coronavirus at San Antonio’s Audie Murphy Memorial VA Hospital.
Carson Frame | Texas Public Radio

The Department of Veterans Affairs is now screening patients for coronavirus in an attempt to protect the already vulnerable veteran population. But some employees and members of Congress question whether the nation's largest healthcare system will be able to come up with a unified response to the pandemic.

The VA informed student veterans they may become ineligible for GI Bill education and housing funds if their college transitions from in-person to online classes. Congress has quickly passed a fix.

The Las Vegas center is the VA's second inpatient treatment facility for veterans, who are at higher risk of gambling addiction.

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting every aspect of American life - including military life.

Normally, Congress waits at least ten years after a war ends to authorize a monument. But supporters say a proposed "Global War on Terrorism" memorial should be built now.

 

Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. De’Jon Williams

Thousands of military troops remain deployed at the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the Trump administration’s effort to prevent illegal crossings. Some of them are active duty service members, but many are part of the National Guard — from states as far away as Iowa and Kentucky. 

It's an unusual deployment, with troops quartered in hotels and families allowed to visit.

The MAVNI program allowed non-U.S. citizens to enlist in the armed services if they had foreign language skills or other special expertise. But the program is now at a standstill.

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