Veteran Marc Session points to some of his Navy mementos on display in his Chula Vista, California home.
Steve Walsh / American Homefront

A Report Finds Thousands Of Veterans Had VA Claims Improperly Denied During The Pandemic

A VA Inspector General's report has found that the agency improperly denied benefits to thousands of veterans who couldn't see a doctor during the pandemic.

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Iraq War veteran Roberto Cruz said he realized he needed mental health treatment after he got sick with COVID-19 in July and spent weeks in isolation.
Stephanie Colombini / American Homefront

Months of physical distancing and pandemic anxiety has been especially tough on veterans who were already dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related injuries.

Air Force personnel and civilian volunteers worked side-by-side on Christmas Eve 2019 to operate NORAD's Santa tracking hotline. In 2020, the operation will be scaled back because of the pandemic.
Jeff Fitzmorris / U.S. Air Force

Personnel from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs will try to fill in for the volunteers who normally field children's phone calls on Christmas Eve.

Manuel Bernal, president of East LA Community Corporation, stands in front of what remains of the Nuevo Amanecer complex, which had 30 units for homeless veterans.
Robert Garrova / American Homefront

Some of Los Angeles County's 3900 homeless veterans had been lined up to move into the complex under construction. After the fire, many will remain on the streets.

Harmony Allen as photographed by police after she reported a 2000 rape on Sheppard Air Force Base. Her assailant was convicted, then released from prison because a 'gray area' in the law.
Wichita Falls, Texas Police Department

Because of a legal loophole, victims of sexual assaults between 1986 and 2006 can no longer press charges, and some troops who were convicted of rape have been released from prison.

The National Native American Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. opened in November. The monument incorporates water for sacred ceremonies, benches, and lances where visitors can tie cloths for prayers and healing.
Ron Cogswell / Flickr

Native Americans join the military at a high rate, but some struggle with the military's role in displacing and subjugating Indigenous people throughout the nation's history.

The National Mall in Washington, D.C. is generally quiet these days, as the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic keeps people home and the Smithsonian museums shuttered.

Retired Army Colonel Herminio Blas-Irizarry volunteered for a VA COVID-19 vaccine trial. "It's something I want to do for my country," he said.
Stephanie Colombini / American Homefront

More than 50 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers are involved in trials to test vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, and the agency is calling on vets to volunteer.

Demonstrators gather in San Antonio in July, shortly after Vanessa Guillen's body was found near Fort Hood.
Jolene Almendarez / American Homefront

Advocates say the Army is too quick to write off soldiers as deserters when they don't show up for duty. That can delay searches when a service member disappears because of an accident, suicide, or abduction.

Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs is serving as temporary headquarters of the U.S. Space Command for at least the next six years. But several cities, including Colorado Springs, are competing to become the permanent home.
Duncan Wood / U.S. Air Force

Communities in 26 states hope to be chosen as the headquarters for U.S. Space Command, which could employ an estimated 1,400 people.

95-year-old World War II veteran Luther Hendricks poses with some of his military honors. He was a member of the Montford Point Marines, a group of African-American troops who trained at a segregated camp in North Carolina.
Hendricks family / U.S. Marine Corps

President Roosevelt opened all branches of the military to Black troops in 1941, but for African-American service members like Luther Hendricks, racism still was prevalent.

President Donald Trump speaks at a 2019 American Veterans Convention in Louisville, Ky. Former Vice President Joe Biden salutes a veteran at a 2019 Iowa town hall event.
Shealah Craighead / Official White House photo. Adam Schultz / Biden for President.

Veterans traditionally are more likely to vote for Republican candidates. But polls suggest their support for President Trump has eroded.

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