veterans

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

When clinical psychiatrist Cher Morrow-Bradley and other health care providers call the Veterans Choice program, they are greeted with a recorded, 90-second "thank you" from Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald.

It's not having the intended effect.

"Why don't you make this easier? The process is so cumbersome, and I have to listen to you thanking me for spending all this time and then I get put on hold," says Morrow-Bradley, adding that she hasn't figured out how to skip the message.

American Homefront reporter Jay Price talks with WUNC's Frank Stasio about the potential dangers of burn pits, which were commonly used to dispose of trash at U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. Price, who spent time at several of the bases as a journalist, explains that burn pits were among many things that polluted the air in war zones.

Marine Lance Cpl. Richard Carmichael disposes of trash in a burn pit in Afghanistan in this 2013 photo.
Sgt Anthony L. Ortiz / U.S. Marine Corps

So-called "burn pits" were common at U.S. military outposts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Legislation in the Senate would create a center to study the effects of breathing their smoke.

The northern half of Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood.
John Ismay / American Homefront

The V.A. is building columbariums at several veterans cemeteries, where there is no more space for traditional burials.

The U.S. Senate passed a bill which included a provision to help injured veterans conceive children. It would cover the cost of fertility treatment under their VA benefits.    

US. Senator Patty Murray’s amendment would allow veterans with service-connected injuries that prevent them from conceiving naturally to pursue procedures like in vitro fertilization. The procedure combines harvested eggs and sperm outside the body.

Laura Herzog stands in front of a newly stuccoed wall that will soon become a memorial to all the Americans killed in action since 9/11.
KPCC/John Ismay

Laura Herzog stands in front of a newly stuccoed wall that will soon become a memorial to all the Americans killed in action since 9/11. KPCC/John Ismay

For two years, Laura Herzog has been on a mission to honor the nearly 7,000 military service members who've been killed in America's wars since 9/11.

President Obama signs the 2010 law repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'
Chuck Kennedy / White House

More than four years after the military’s discriminatory policies against gay and lesbian service members ended, veterans advocates say the Pentagon has not done enough to help the roughly 80,000 troops kicked out of the services for being gay since World War II.

Just six percent of California legislators have served in the military, one of the lowest percentages in the U.S.
David Monniaux / Wikipedia

A new report from the American Enterprise Institute shows there aren't many military veterans in California's state legislature, even though more vets live in the state than anywhere else.

Thor Ringler of the Department of Veterans Affairs interviews Korean War veteran Darrell Krenz for the 'My Life, My Story' project.
Department of Veterans Affairs

An initiative at several veterans hospitals adds something new to patients' medical records: their life stories.

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