Quil Lawrence http://kunm.org en After A Long Wait, 24 Models In Heroism Get Their Due http://kunm.org/post/after-long-wait-24-models-heroism-get-their-due Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>On today's program, in interviews and stories from NPR reporters, we're following events in Crimea, as well as the continuing search for Malaysian Air Flight 370.<p>SIEGEL: Right now, a story about honor delayed but, in the end, not denied. This afternoon, President Barack Obama awarded 24 Americans the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest decoration for valor. And this is a unique group. Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:03:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 42638 at http://kunm.org Military Training Gives U.S. Paralympic Biathletes An Edge http://kunm.org/post/military-training-gives-us-paralympic-biathletes-edge Biathlon may be the toughest endurance sport in the Olympics. After grueling circuits of Nordic skiing, athletes have to calm their breathing, steady their tired legs and shoot tiny targets with a rifle.<p>Andy Soule does it all with only his arms.<p>"It's a steep learning curve, learning to sit-ski," says Soule, a member of the U.S. Paralympic team. He's strapped into a seat attached to two fixed cross-country skis. Fri, 07 Mar 2014 22:06:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 42182 at http://kunm.org Military Training Gives U.S. Paralympic Biathletes An Edge From War In The Desert To 'Murder Ball On Ice' http://kunm.org/post/war-desert-murder-ball-ice <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wULh4froE7k</p> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 08:15:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 42152 at http://kunm.org From War In The Desert To 'Murder Ball On Ice' Among Soldiers, Risk Of Suicide May Have Surprising Roots http://kunm.org/post/among-soldiers-risk-suicide-may-have-surprising-roots Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block.<p>For years, people in the military had a lower rate of suicide than their civilian counterparts. About 10 years ago that started to change and now the rate is worse for soldiers than civilians. That prompted the largest-ever study of suicide among soldiers, in cooperation with the National Institutes of Health. The study is on-going, but three initial articles have been published.<p>And NPR's Quil Lawrence joins us to talk about the findings. Tue, 04 Mar 2014 21:37:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 42048 at http://kunm.org Yale Law Students Raise Case For Discharged Vets http://kunm.org/post/yale-law-students-raise-case-discharged-vets Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>In the U.S., posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD has become part of our national vocabulary. During the Vietnam War, though, it wasn't yet a medical diagnosis, nor was it accepted as an explanation for erratic behavior. Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:23:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 41997 at http://kunm.org Fallujah Veterans Ask Hard Questions About Their Sacrifices http://kunm.org/post/fallujah-veterans-ask-hard-questions-about-their-sacrifices Will Walsh got to know the Iraqi city of Fallujah while running across its bridges in the middle of the night, under fire, looking for IEDs. That was nearly 10 years ago.<p>Last weekend, the former Army captain heard the news that Fallujah had fallen, again, to al-Qaida-linked groups.<p>"The question I have to ask myself is was that effort in vain?" he says now. "Was all the work that we did, all the sacrifice that we had, what is the benefit?"<p>Walsh's platoon lost one man in Fallujah. Hundreds of Americans were killed or wounded there. It was 2004. Tue, 07 Jan 2014 22:39:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 39819 at http://kunm.org Fallujah Veterans Ask Hard Questions About Their Sacrifices An Honorable Last Wish For A Dying Marine http://kunm.org/post/honorable-last-wish-dying-marine Hal Faulkner is 79 years old and he's already lived months longer than his doctors predicted.<p>"I don't know what to say, it's just incredible that I'm still here," Faulkner says in a halting voice made gruff by age and cancer.<p>Faulkner joined the Marines in 1953, and served in the Philippines. In 1956, he got kicked out with an "undesirable discharge" for being gay. Mon, 06 Jan 2014 08:01:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 39728 at http://kunm.org An Honorable Last Wish For A Dying Marine For Veterans, 'Bad Paper' Is A Catch-22 For Treatment http://kunm.org/post/veterans-bad-paper-catch-22-treatment Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>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. Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:12:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 38708 at http://kunm.org Other-Than-Honorable Discharge Burdens Like A Scarlet Letter http://kunm.org/post/other-honorable-discharge-burdens-scarlet-letter 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.<p>None of that matters, because at the bottom of the page it reads "Discharged: under other than honorable conditions."<p>Highfill, a 27-year-old Michigan native, says he got addicted to the painkillers he was taking for a knee injury. In the Navy's eyes, Highfill screwed up. Mon, 09 Dec 2013 11:06:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 38657 at http://kunm.org Other-Than-Honorable Discharge Burdens Like A Scarlet Letter Vets-Turned-Firefighters Find Brotherhood, Purpose http://kunm.org/post/vets-turned-firefighters-find-brotherhood-purpose Veteran Chris Delplato wanted to be a firefighter for a long time.<p>"Ever since I was a little kid — [toy] truck and everything," Delplato says. But he only just got his dream job, after first joining the Navy and serving in the Persian Gulf.<p>He was hired by New Jersey's North Hudson Fire Department, which has brought on 43 veterans this year.<p>Employment for veterans of recent wars remains a stubborn problem, with the jobless rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan sometimes reaching double the national rate. Mon, 11 Nov 2013 08:21:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 37477 at http://kunm.org Vets-Turned-Firefighters Find Brotherhood, Purpose Afghan Translator Credited With Saving Soldier Arrives In U.S. http://kunm.org/post/afghan-translator-credited-saving-soldier-arrives-us Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>Let's get an update now on a story we brought you last month. An Army Captain named Matt Zeller waged a one-man campaign to get an American visa for his Afghan translator. A special program does allocate visas for Iraqis and Afghans who have put their lives in danger helping U.S. forces. Wed, 30 Oct 2013 09:44:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 36953 at http://kunm.org U.S. Soldier Fights For Afghan Interpreter Who Saved His Life http://kunm.org/post/us-soldier-crusading-afghan-interpreter-who-saved-his-life Army Capt. Matt Zeller had been told that his Afghan comrades would make a big show of hospitality. He'd read that the Afghan code of honor would mean protecting his life with their own. Sure enough, that's what his interpreter, Janis Shinwari, pledged to him when they met in April of 2008.<p>"I expected him to say it. I didn't think he'd make good on his promise within two weeks of my arrival," Zeller says. "Literally pick up a weapon and ... save my life," says Zeller.<p>Now, Zeller says he's got to repay the favor in kind. Wed, 25 Sep 2013 07:40:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 35438 at http://kunm.org U.S. Soldier Fights For Afghan Interpreter Who Saved His Life For Wounded Vets, Climbing Half Dome Only Half The Mission http://kunm.org/post/wounded-vets-climbing-half-dome-only-half-mission Timmy O'Neill is guiding Steve Baskis through ancient yellow pines that almost touch the sky. They're hiking all day to base camp in California's Yosemite National Park, 2,000 feet up in Little Yosemite Valley.<p>Taking Baskis by the hand, O'Neill traces the distant ridge of Half Dome, a bald rock rising almost a mile from the valley floor. That's tomorrow's challenge.<p>Baskis can't actually see the peak. Four years ago, a bomb blast in Iraq took his eyesight. So O'Neill is guiding Baskis along the trail, providing directions and warning him away from steep drops. Sat, 14 Sep 2013 08:53:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 34967 at http://kunm.org For Wounded Vets, Climbing Half Dome Only Half The Mission VA Still Under Pressure To Reduce Disability Claim Backlog http://kunm.org/post/va-still-under-pressure-reduce-disability-claim-backlog Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>For years, the backlog of disability claims for veterans has been fodder for politicians, pundits and even comedians, like Jon Stewart.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")<p>JON STEWART: And paper disability records still undigitized and piled up so high that the floor of one VA field office is going to collapse.<p>CORNISH: That load has gotten a little lighter recently. Wed, 21 Aug 2013 21:38:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 33901 at http://kunm.org A Veteran's Piercing True Story Leaps From Page To Stage http://kunm.org/post/veterans-piercing-true-story-leaps-page-stage <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiFLmSS83Ag</p> Sat, 20 Jul 2013 09:02:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 32447 at http://kunm.org A Veteran's Piercing True Story Leaps From Page To Stage At A Texas Base, Battling Army's Top Threat: Suicide http://kunm.org/post/texas-base-battling-armys-top-threat-suicide Suicide killed more American troops last year than combat in Afghanistan, and that is likely to be the case again this year.<p>According to the Pentagon, there were <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/01/14/169364733/u-s-militarys-suicide-rate-surpassed-combat-deaths-in-2012">at least 349 confirmed suicides</a> in 2012, compared with <a href="http://icasualties.org/oef/">310 U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan</a> in the same period.<p>Historically, the suicide rate in the military has hovered around half the civilian rate. Thu, 20 Jun 2013 16:13:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 31043 at http://kunm.org At A Texas Base, Battling Army's Top Threat: Suicide For Ailing Vets In Rural Areas, Tele-Medicine Can Be The Cure http://kunm.org/post/ailing-vets-rural-areas-tele-medicine-can-be-cure Howard Lincoln of White Mountain, Alaska, doesn't always hear it when people knock on his door. He's 82 and he still has a little shrapnel in his jaw from a mortar shell that nearly killed him in the Korean War 60 years ago.<p>"We heard it whistling, but I was the third one in line running toward the bunker," he recalls.<p>Wounds to his face, arm and hip laid him up in a Tokyo hospital for quite a while. Wed, 29 May 2013 06:53:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 29877 at http://kunm.org For Ailing Vets In Rural Areas, Tele-Medicine Can Be The Cure Forgotten For Decades, WWII Alaskans Finally Get Their Due http://kunm.org/post/forgotten-decades-wwii-alaskans-finally-get-their-due Alaskan Clyde Iyatunguk grew up hearing stories about the U.S. Army colonel, Marvin 'Muktuk' Marston, who helped his father trade his spear for a rifle, to protect his homeland during World War II.<p>Marston is a household name with Native Alaskans. Tue, 28 May 2013 21:15:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 29860 at http://kunm.org Forgotten For Decades, WWII Alaskans Finally Get Their Due Searching For Veterans On Alaska's Remote Edges http://kunm.org/post/searching-veterans-alaskas-remote-edges When he was in Vietnam, Isaac Oxereok's small build made him ideal for tunnel-ratting: running with a pistol and a flashlight into underground passages built by the Viet Cong. In 1967 he finished his tour with the Army and returned home to Wales, Alaska. Oxereok knew he wasn't quite right, but there wasn't anyone around to tell him how to get help.<p>"Post-traumatic syndrome?" he said. "I went through that I guess, mostly on my own. Some wounds never really show. Tue, 28 May 2013 07:44:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 29813 at http://kunm.org Searching For Veterans On Alaska's Remote Edges Sexual Violence Victims Say Military Justice System Is 'Broken' http://kunm.org/post/sexual-violence-victims-say-military-justice-system-broken Myla Haider took a roundabout route to becoming an agent in the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, or CID. Wars kept interrupting her training.<p>"My commander wanted to take me to Iraq as the intelligence analyst for the battalion, so I gave up my seat in CID school," Haider says.<p>She speaks in a steady, "just the facts ma'am" tone. Once a cop always a cop, the 37-year-old says.<p>Her commander from the 101st Airborne, retired Lt. Col. Marty Herbert, describes Haider as a sharp, even-keeled analyst, standing out in a battalion of hundreds. Thu, 21 Mar 2013 07:05:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 26681 at http://kunm.org Sexual Violence Victims Say Military Justice System Is 'Broken' Off The Battlefield, Military Women Face Risks From Male Troops http://kunm.org/post/battlefield-military-women-face-risks-male-troops Dora Hernandez gave a decade of her life to the U.S. Navy and the Army National Guard, but some of the dangers surprised her.<p>"The worst thing for me is that you don't have to worry about the enemy, you have to worry about your own soldiers," she says.<p>Sitting in a circle, a group of women nod in agreement. All are veterans, most have spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they're also survivors of another war. Wed, 20 Mar 2013 07:08:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 26634 at http://kunm.org Off The Battlefield, Military Women Face Risks From Male Troops Women In Combat, And The Price They Pay http://kunm.org/post/women-combat-and-price-they-pay America has been debating the role of women in combat since 1779.<p>That's when the Continental Congress first awarded a military disability pension to Mary Corbin after she manned a cannon in the Revolutionary War at the battle of Fort Washington in New York. Corbin got only half the pension male soldiers received, but she asked for — and received — the full ration of rum.<p>Today, as the Pentagon decides how to remove the combat exclusion, women still have trouble getting fully recognized for what they've achieved at war.<p>"Are women in combat?" asks Staff Sgt. Jessica Keown. Mon, 18 Mar 2013 07:23:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 26510 at http://kunm.org Women In Combat, And The Price They Pay Female Soldiers Face Tough Switch From Front Lines To Homefront http://kunm.org/post/female-soldiers-face-tough-switch-front-lines-homefront <em>In a series of reports this week, NPR's Quil Lawrence looks at some of the most pressing challenges facing America's nearly 2 million female veterans. Like men, they often need assistance in finding jobs, dealing with PTSD and reintegrating into their families. And all too often, women say their military experience included sexual harassment or sexual assault.</em><p>Alyssa Corcoran experienced combat on her first patrol in Afghanistan. Sun, 17 Mar 2013 09:52:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 26492 at http://kunm.org Female Soldiers Face Tough Switch From Front Lines To Homefront A Wounded Soldier Stands Tall At Reunion With His Platoon http://kunm.org/post/wounded-soldier-stands-tall-reunion-his-platoon U.S. Army Spc. Tyler Jeffries spent most of last year in Afghanistan, on dusty, hot patrols in the villages outside Kandahar. Last fall, on Oct. 6, his tour ended three months early.<p>"I was clearing an area and I had the metal detector. Then we had word that there was two guys coming toward our position," Jeffries recalled later that month. Tue, 19 Feb 2013 20:13:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 25287 at http://kunm.org A Wounded Soldier Stands Tall At Reunion With His Platoon Shooting Of 'American Sniper' Raises Questions About PTSD Treatment http://kunm.org/post/shooting-american-sniper-raises-questions-about-ptsd-treatment Police in Texas have charged Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old U.S. Marine reservist, with capital murder. Arrest records indicate that Routh had been twice taken to a mental hospital in recent months, and had told police he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.<p>It's not clear whether a doctor had diagnosed Routh with the disorder before he <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/02/04/171057790/reports-american-sniper-chris-kyle-died-while-trying-to-help-fellow-veteran">allegedly murdered</a> Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield. Wed, 06 Feb 2013 21:01:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 24707 at http://kunm.org Shooting Of 'American Sniper' Raises Questions About PTSD Treatment Suicide Hotline Fights To Keep Vets And Troops Alive http://kunm.org/post/suicide-hotline-fights-keep-vets-and-troops-alive At a suicide prevention center in upstate New York, America's troops and veterans are calling in for help.<p>And that help is needed more than ever. This past year witnessed a terrible death toll from suicide. Fri, 28 Dec 2012 19:32:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 23049 at http://kunm.org Suicide Hotline Fights To Keep Vets And Troops Alive For Veterans, The Wait For Disability Claims Grows Longer http://kunm.org/post/veterans-wait-disability-claims-grows-longer <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAVb1FzjZH8</p> Thu, 27 Dec 2012 08:26:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 22979 at http://kunm.org For Veterans, The Wait For Disability Claims Grows Longer Veterans Deploy To Northeast After Superstorm Sandy http://kunm.org/post/veterans-deploy-northeast-after-superstorm-sandy Among the thousands of volunteers helping the victims of Superstorm Sandy in New York and New Jersey are hundreds of military veterans who have turned out to help.<p>For this group, work like this seems to address a real need for a sense of mission. Sun, 11 Nov 2012 10:44:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 21135 at http://kunm.org Veterans Deploy To Northeast After Superstorm Sandy New York To Allow Voters To Cast Ballots By Affidavit http://kunm.org/post/new-york-allow-voters-cast-ballots-affidavit Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>Now many who will cast presidential ballots in New York have been facing a complicated post-storm challenge - where they should vote. Superstorm Sandy has displaced many residents from their homes and some polling places are out of commission because of storm damage. Mon, 05 Nov 2012 23:43:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 20850 at http://kunm.org Vet Walks On New Legs, With A Little Help From Mom http://kunm.org/post/vet-walks-new-legs-little-help-mom On furlough from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center this summer, 21-year-old Nick Staback lounges on his parents' back porch in Scranton, Pa., taking potshots at sparrows with a replica sniper rifle. The long plastic gun fires pellets that mostly just scare the birds away.<p>It's been a tough year for Staback since his last foot patrol in Afghanistan.<p>"We [were] just channeling down a beaten trail, of course, you just don't know what's on it," he says. Wed, 24 Oct 2012 09:03:00 +0000 Quil Lawrence 20284 at http://kunm.org Vet Walks On New Legs, With A Little Help From Mom