Romeo Pactores, Jr.'s 18 year military career is in jeopardy after a DUI that he said was prompted by service-related mental health issues.
Steve Walsh / American Homefront

Troops With Service-Related Mental Health Issues Say It's Unfair To Kick Them Out Of The Military

The Marine Corps established Wounded Warrior Battalions to aid troops with the worst mental and physical injuries. But Marines in the battalions who are suicidal or suffer from PTSD can still be discharged for misconduct.

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Veteran entrepreneurs take part in a 2019 class at Action Zone in Tampa. The non-profit organization moved online in 2020 to continue its classes in entrepreneurship for veterans.
Rosie Lee / Action Zone

The pandemic has forced some veteran-owned businesses to close. But other veteran entrepreneurs say their military experience has helped them withstand hardship.

Kristen Christy poses with her husband Don in a 2005 photo. Don, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, died by suicide in 2008.
Kristen Christy

New federal laws seek to improve mental health care for veterans and their families. But advocates say it will take time for local communities to feel the effects.

At a drive-through vaccination site in Elizabeth City, N.C., Tech Sgt. Steven Simpson of the North Carolina National Guard administers a COVID-19 vaccination as Maj. Hollis Guenther gives the next recipient instructions about the vaccine.
Jay Price / American Homefront

More than a dozen states have called up the National Guard to help at vaccination sites, and Joe Biden may mobilize Guard units nationally.

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

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.

Trainees march in formation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. The Air Force has restructured basic military training so that there is less travel time and fewer opportunities to practice drill.
Carson Frame / American Homefront

Health and safety precautions during the pandemic have led the Air Force to eliminate parts of basic training. But some military observers question whether the changes are leaving airmen unprepared for duty.

Curley Bonds, the Chief Medical Officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, joins other state and county officials at a 2019 Suicide Prevention Month event.
Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

Some states and cities are trying to improve the quality of data on veteran suicide, which is often incomplete and years old.

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.

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