Lt. Cmdr. Valerie Greenaway conducts a Navy training session in December 2016, when an Obama-era policy allowed transgender service members to serve openly. Now, President Trump has ordered a ban on transgender recruits.
Erwin Jacob V Miciano / U.S. Navy

Transgender Troops Face Uncertainty As Pentagon Decides Their Fate

President Trump's directive prohibits transgender people from joining the military and bans the military from paying for gender reassignment surgery. But it doesn't address what will happen to transgender people currently serving.

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The discipline of military service, as it does for many young men, changed John Blackjack’s life.

"He was a wild child with us," said Roseanne Wray, whose family adopted and raised Staff Sgt. Blackjack.  "The Army did something wonderful for him. They turned him into a soldier."

A Building Boom for Veterans Cemeteries

Jun 24, 2015
Jay Price/WUNC

The Veterans Administration and state governments have embarked on the largest expansion of veterans cemeteries since the Civil War.

A massive data breach at the federal Office of Personnel Management has exposed the Social Security numbers and personnel records of nearly every federal worker. The implications for federal employees, military service members and the intelligence community could be extraordinary.  

But at a very basic level U.S. service members have been at high risk for identity theft for decades.

War widows can be seen as a living symbol of patriotism. A reminder of the ultimate sacrifice of service.

But practically speaking, life for military widows and widowers is awash in grief, uncertainty and paperwork.

A group run by widows in Washington state has created a supportive social network to ease that burden. 

John Ismay

After being chained and padlocked for decades, the gate to the West Los Angeles VA Campus's Grand Lawn has re-opened.


Spc. Nikayla Shodeen/U.S. Army

At Georgia's Fort Benning, female soldiers are fighting a two-month battle. Their enemies? Hunger, fatigue, even hallucination. They're fighting their way through the Army's notoriously hard Ranger School, trying to make history by becoming the first women to graduate from it.

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base."

Caring for the nation's veterans at the end of their lives can be a complex task. Service members — especially combat veterans — can struggle with guilt, abandonment and regret.

George Patterson and Dave Cable

More than a thousand service members remain listed as Missing In Action from the Vietnam War. The brother of one of them still holds out hope.


U.S. Marines who fought long and bloody battles to drive insurgents out of the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah watched with disappointment as the cities fell to the self-described Islamic State.

Susanica Tam for KPCC

Local housing officials need the cooperation of landlords to comply with the federal government's goal of ending homelessness among veterans.


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