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

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

The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded $300 million to nonprofits nationwide to help reduce veteran homelessness, with $12.3 million going to organizations that serve Los Angeles County.

Former paratrooper Adrian Carrillo with his five year old daughter Adrea. Carrillo has spent months searching for affordable housing in Southern California.
Lori Garland

A federal program provides housing vouchers to help veterans pay their rent. But in cities with expensive housing markets, many landlords won't accept them.

Mayor Eric Garcetti and First Lady Michelle Obama at a June 2014 event where Garcetti pledged to end homelessness among military veterans by the end of 2015.
City of Los Angeles


Mayor Eric Garcetti's office said Los Angeles will miss its goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of the year. He blamed the recent rise in the city's homeless population — veteran and non-veteran alike.

Veterans now have shorter waits for disability claims through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Frank Stoltze/KPCC

The Veterans Administration has made progress reducing a backlog of disability claims, though veterans still have to wait several months for benefits.

Nancy Pastor for NPR


Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate and House outlines a plan to build housing on the West L.A. veterans campus. A lawsuit settled earlier this year targeted past VA mismanagement failures on the campus.

Matthew Lutz / Flikr/Creative Commons

The recent hack of data held by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has raised concerns that the identities of undercover intelligence officers working abroad could be exposed.

Lance Cpl. Anna Albrecht/U.S. Army

Only four Iraq veterans have received the Medal of Honor, and some service members say the Pentagon has become stingy in recognizing valor.

John Ismay/KPCC

A VA Town Hall meeting degrades into a shouting match, as the agency discussed plans to redevelop its West Los Angeles campus.

John Ismay

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

Maya Alleruzzo/AP


The Wounded Warrior Project is providing $15.7 million to UCLA's Operation Mend.