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

Officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs said they've met 12 of 13 promises to improve services for vets in Los Angeles, but it's not clear if they fulfilled their biggest one: an ambitious goal to house 650 vets in April.

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.

Nancy Pastor for NPR.

The VA apologizes for misusing real estate in West Los Angeles. Instead of using all the land to serve veterans, the VA leases some of it to a television studio, a laundry business, and UCLA.


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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