Staff Sgt. Melishia Francis prepares her breast pump in a lactation room at Lackland Air Force Base's Wilford Hall Medical Hospital.
Daniel J. Calderón / U.S. Air Force

A Challenge For Military Moms: Breastfeeding And Pumping On Duty

Inflexible work schedules and lack of support can make it tough for new mothers in the military to keep breastfeeding their children.

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Natural light floods the hallways and community spaces at the new Bay Pines VA Mental Health Center in Florida. The center houses a special inpatient unit for sexual trauma survivors.
Bobbie O'Brien / American Homefront

Sexual trauma can be especially damaging for members of the military, where the perpetrator may be a commander and have access to weapons.

Army Maj. Jason Moncuse sat at a table in a makeshift headquarters with an Afghan actor playing the role of a commander from that nation's army. Through a Dari-speaking interpreter they traded small talk.

"Oh, and if you could, also submit this tourist visa to the U.S.," the commander said.

"Oh, so you want a tourist visa?" said Moncuse.

The chatting wasn't aimless, though. The Army is essentially weaponizing chitchat.

The Tomahawk Ground Launched Nuclear Cruise Missile -- now displayed at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Arizona - was an important part of the U.S. arsenal during the Cold War.
Kelly Michals / Flikr

As part of a recently released plan, the Trump Administration is proposing an increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. 

A charity called 'Homes for Our Troops' is building an accessible home for veteran Ryan Wilcox in upstate New York.
Sarah Harris / American Homefront

When veterans with war injuries need accessible housing, they often have few options.

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

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.

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.

Army veteran Phillip Faustman sifts through his belongings at a San Diego homeless shelter.  Faustman says he attempted suicide three times in two and a half years.
Christopher Maue / KPBS

The Veterans Health Administration is planning to make mental health care more available to help reduce veteran suicide. But veterans advocates worry about the impact on the already strained VA health system.

Movers unpack a van at Sarah Taranto's house in May 2017. Many of the Tarantos' possessions arrived damaged, while other had been stolen during the moving process.
Sarah Taranto

The average military family moves every two to three years. Their household goods are supposed to move with them, but that doesn’t always happen ... and some families say the military doesn't do much to help.

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.

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