John Ismay

Veterans and Military Issues Reporter, Southern California Public Radio - KPCC

John Ismay spent a decade in the U.S. Navy as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician and Special Operations Officer. He completed multiple overseas deployments, including a combat tour to Iraq in 2007.

His work as a writer began that same year. He became a specialist on different kinds of weapons used by insurgents, created hundreds of reports on their use, and developed countermeasures that saved American lives.

When he left the Navy four years ago as a Lieutenant Commander, he turned to journalism. The choice was inspired, in part, by the work he did with the New York Times on an award-winning investigative series about the discovery of chemical weapons in Iraq.

John continued his work at the Times, writing for the At War Blog, while attending Columbia Journalism School, where he focused on long term investigative projects and data analysis.

He was among the writers of a pair of stories in the New York Times that won a George Polk Award, one of the most distinguished awards in journalism. The stories investigated the tactics of the Navy SEALs, the elite special operations force best known for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The New York Times reporting raised concerns about excessive killing and civilian deaths by SEAL personnel.

Ways to Connect

Screenshot of video taken during oral arguments. Clockwise from top-left: Judge Ronald Gould, Judge Marsha Marsha Berzon, Judge George Steeh III, U.S. Attorney Sonia McNeil, and plaintiffs' attorney Marc Angelucci.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

A federal appeals court has allowed a lawsuit to go forward that seeks to force women to register for the military draft.

Four F-15 Eagle pilots from the 3rd Wing walk to their respective jets at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska
Tech. Sgt. Keith Brown / U.S. Air Force

Even though it's been 40 years since anyone has been drafted into the military in the US, young men are still required to register with the Selective Service when they enter adulthood. Now, top officers from the Army and Marine Corps say it's about time women register, too.

Jamie Jones hugs her husband, Army veteran James Wallace, as they move into their new Winston-Salem duplex apartment.
Jay Price/American Homefront

Shortly after Barack Obama became President in 2009, he announced an ambitious goal -- to end homelessness among military veterans by the end of 2015. Now, at the deadline, results are mixed.

In this series, the American Homefront Project reports from three cities around the country to learn why some communities have met the housing goal, while others have fallen far short:

Sen. Claire McCaskill, right, meets with U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell during a 2010 visit to Afghanistan.
NATO photo

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Tuesday she's in favor of making young women register for the draft — and two top-level military officers agreed. 

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald speaks at an event at UCLA, asking landlords to offer leases to homeless veterans.
John Ismay / American Homefront

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald was in Los Angeles with a mission: convince area landlords to rent apartments to homeless military veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs' West Los Angeles Medical Center.
Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Ann R. Brown has been named by the Department of Veterans Affairs as the new permanent director of the troubled Greater Los Angeles Veterans Healthcare System.

Ribbon cutting at VA complex
John Ismay / KPCC

The U.S. Senate has  authorized $35 million to create new housing for homeless military veterans on the Department of Veterans Affairs' campus in Westwood, California.

The V.A. Medical Center in Long Beach, Cal. is one of roughly 1700 medical facilities where veterans are being asked for DNA samples.
Kelvin Kay, Wikipedia Commons

The nation's veterans are being asked to contribute DNA for the largest genetic research project in history.

Marine Corps veteran Clarence Moore is living in a transitional housing dorm in Los Angeles as he struggles to find a permanent home.
John Ismay/American Homefront

Los Angeles officials say they're housing more than 300 veterans a month. Still, the city's homeless veteran population continues to grow.

Screenshot of video taken during oral arguments. Clockwise from top-left: Judge Ronald Gould, Judge Marsha Marsha Berzon, Judge George Steeh III, U.S. Attorney Sonia McNeil, and plaintiffs' attorney Marc Angelucci.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has heard arguments about the constitutionality of a male-only draft — and whether or not a case challenging that policy should go to trial.

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