Artwork in the office of Dr. Greg Serpa at the West Los Angeles VA includes toy army men in yoga poses.
Libby Denkmann / American Homefront

Teaching Veterans Kindness: VA Embraces Mindfulness, Whole Health

The VA hopes to roll out a national "whole health" program for veterans, offering them acupuncture, tai chi, yoga,and other alternative mental health therapies.

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Last spring, the Army told recruiters it expected them to enlist 6,000 new soldiers – the largest mid-year increase in its history. It recently also upped its yearly recruitment goal to an unexpected high of 80,000.

Mary Junell / U.S. Army National Guard

The Trump Administration wants to grow the Army substantially, even as potential recruits get harder to find. That's putting more pressure on recruiters than they've seen in years.

Navy Lt. Commander Jeff Raunig, a physician, weighs his options under the new military retirement system. 'Med school doesn't teach you that much about economics,' he said.
Libby Denkmann / American Homefront

About 1.7 million troops are eligible to switch from a traditional pension plan to a blended plan that works more like a 401(k). But some lack the financial skills to evaluate their options.

California has become the eighth state to legalize recreational marijuana.  But using the drug can still end a military career.

Artist Dru Blair shows his painting of a 1952 CIA operation in China that killed two pilots.
Jay Price / American Homefront

"The Secret Ops of the CIA" calendars spotlight an unusual art genre: meticulous paintings of spy missions.

San Antonio's VFW Post 76 is a popular hangout for veterans, who often prefer to socialize with each other rather than with non-veterans.
Tim Hipps / U.S. Army

Fewer than one percent of Americans are in the military, compared with about nine percent during World War II. Researchers say that's helped create a divide between veterans and non-veterans.

Homeless veterans and other homless people live in this encampment near the Saratoga Springs, New York train station.
Sarah Harris / American Homefront

Homelessness often looks different for veterans living in rural communities: Rather than living in the streets, they may be couch-surfacing, sleeping in their cars, or camping in the woods.

In Manteo yesterday, hundreds of people turned out for an annual reenactment of a heartwarming part of the Cold War -- when American pilots dropped candy from the sky for the children of Berlin during the Soviet blockade.

Actor Stephan Wolfert directs a program called DE-CRUIT that  welcomes veterans to the stage to perform Shakespeare.
Sarah Harris / American Homefront

A workshop in New York uses creative writing and Shakespearean monologues to help veterans heal.

The veterans group AMVETS distributed this early prototype of the VA's new veterans ID card in October. The VA has not released a final design, and it's not clear if the Office Depot logo will appear on the final card.
AMVETS

The new veterans ID cards were mandated by a 2015 law. But some veterans groups are raising questions about the possibility that the cards will include corporate branding.

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