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Author and former marine Anthony Swofford gets to the bottom of an epidemic.
I was sitting next to Melissa, a call responder at the VA Crisis Hotline in Canandaigua, N.Y., when she looked at me and whispered, 'He just said he thinks he should walk out into traffic on Interstate 5 and end it all, that life is not worth living.'
They came from Walker Basin, a speck of a community at the edge of the Sequoia National Forest. From the farm town of Reedley, where a barber gives boys joining the military free haircuts before they ship out.
They came from San Francisco. Los Angeles. San Diego.
When they died, photos went up on post office walls in their hometowns. On Veterans Day, there are parades and charity golf tournaments. Buddies gather at graves to drink to the ones who are gone.
In the 11 years since the wars began in Iraq and Afghanistan, 725 service members from California have been killed.
Many died young -- 41% were not yet 22. Sixty-three were still teenagers.
They were fun-loving singles. Forty-seven were engaged. They were married, leaving behind 307 wives and husbands. They had children -- 432 sons and daughters.
Critics warn that some schools are misleading veterans, giving them expensive educations with little chance of a job or credit transfer.
WASHINGTON -- After Moses Maddox left the Marine Corps in 2006, he took a sales job with the for-profit University of Phoenix, making up to 100 calls a day to persuade veterans to enroll using their GI Bill benefits.
Only after he enrolled himself did the former corporal discover that the state university he wanted to attend didn't accept the nine course credits he'd earned at Phoenix.
"Basically, I wasted my GI Bill benefits -- just like a lot of other veterans I talk to," said Maddox, who until recently was a veterans benefits counselor at Palomar College in San Diego County.
Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday blamed Republicans for blocking a budget deal and risking automatic Pentagon cuts. But he promised a veterans group that America's fighting men and women won't suffer and will be guaranteed the best medical care for life.
"We're going to keep our commitment to American veterans no matter what happens," Biden said, winning applause from an audience of 3,000 people attending the Disabled American Veterans convention at Bally's hotel-casino in Las Vegas.
By David Lerman, Bloomberg News
The election-year defense budget that President Barack Obama will present today is destined to receive a frosty reception in Congress this week, particularly from Republicans.
By David Wallis
FALLING asleep in a crowded lecture hall was never a problem for Adam Connell. Just the opposite.
As a freshman at the University of Iowa in fall 2010, he uneasily eyed his classmates. "I had feelings of bad anxiety," recalled Mr. Connell, 25, a Navy veteran. "When you pull into ports, because terrorism is so high, you are always super-vigilant at all times. In these 300-person lecture halls, you are just surrounded by people you don't know."
Beefy trucks and trikes get these guys back on the road in style, feeling good
By Chris Woodyard, USA Today
Left a paraplegic by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan two years ago, retired Marine Jack Pierce vows not to let his disability leave him in life's slow lane.
Pierce applies that attitude to pretty much everything, including right now, his summer vacation.
By James Dao
New York Times
PHILADELPHIA — In July 2010, a Department of Veterans Affairs employee named Kristen Ruell was updating a benefit claim when she noticed something odd. What should have been an increase of about $2,000 in a monthly payment to the widow of a veteran showed up on her computer screen as $21,000.
Puzzled, she set the claim aside and began digging into computer files for an answer. What she found surprised and worried her: the department’s database contained duplicate records for the widow, and the system was trying to pay her twice. It was also recommending a retroactive payment dating back months — though the widow had already been paid for that period.
By Nancy Benac, Associated Press
WASHINGTON--Michelle Obama has been everywhere from a West Point mess hall to a NASCAR speedway in the past year to drum up support for military families, and now she's capping the yearlong effort with a two-day, four-state tour to take stock of what's been done.
Back in the spring, close to 50 unemployed young veterans gathered in a state agency building in Richardson to learn how to rework their résumés and make themselves more attractive job candidates.
The first speaker was someone from the University of Phoenix, a mammoth for-profit college that does an overwhelming amount of its educating online, not in classrooms. She passed out brochures, then detailed why the veterans should use their generous education benefits at her school.
Jim DePaolo, laid off just weeks before, was stunned.
The Social Security numbers of Army recipients of the Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross were inadvertently posted online by a Pentagon contractor and were available to the public until they were discovered by a Vietnam veteran who researches military medal awards.
The Social Security numbers of 31 recipients of the military's top two awards for valor in combat were posted by a contractor conducting medals research for the Pentagon.
DENVER--Busy, tech-savvy and often miles from their peers, thousands of new veterans are going online to find camaraderie or get their questions answered -- forcing big changes in long-established veterans groups and inspiring entrepreneurs to launch new ones.
"We're going back to school, we have full-time jobs, we have families and kids," said Marco Bongioanni, 33, of New York, who deployed to Iraq twice while on active duty in the Army.
That leaves little time for what he calls "brick-and-mortar" groups like the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
By David Fitzpatrick and Drew Griffin, CNN Special Investigations Unit
Birmingham, Alabama-- A national charity that vows to help disabled veterans and their families has spent tens of millions on marketing services, all the while doling out massive amounts of candy, hand sanitizer bottles and many other unnecessary items to veteran aid groups, according to a CNN investigation.
Misplaced markers, interment mix-ups at 2 Calif. cemeteries
By Christian Davenport
The Department of Veterans Affairs has found more than 100 unmarked or mismarked graves at two more national cemeteries, adding to a mounting toll of problems at military burial grounds across the country.
Some mourners at the funeral for 26-year-old Jonathan Blunk also said they've been told by officials that there are indications he may have tried to stand up to the heavily armed gunman and stop him during the July 20 attack in Aurora, Colorado.
Doug Sterner has for 14 years been doing what the Pentagon has failed to do: catalog all 350,000 recipients of top medals of valor.
ALEXANDRIA, VA. -- Doug Sterner drives from his cluttered apartment here to the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., carrying a portable photocopier and a belief in American heroes.
Inside the Navy archives, he flips through thousands of typed index cards detailing bravery in battle. Sterner pulls out a card and starts reading. He's mesmerized by this story:
Charles Valentine August, a Navy pilot who shot down two enemy planes in World War II, was later shot down himself and captured in North Africa. After escaping, August returned to combat and was shot down again and taken prisoner by the Japanese.
By Adam Ashton, Staff writer
At least the waiting is over.
That's small consolation for friends and family of 12 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker soldiers who spent much of the past two years ensnared in a sprawling war crimes investigation.
The trials tested families in ways they couldn't have imagined when their sons and husbands enlisted in the Army. Some couples broke apart. Others came away intact, but found themselves thousands of dollars in debt from legal fees.
By David Lerman, Bloomberg News
The Pentagon and Labor Department must become "more adept" at translating military experience into marketable skills to help veterans find work, according to a report by a Washington-based research group.
A new Gallup Poll gives Mitt Romney a big election edge over President Obama among veterans. Romney leads Obama 58% to 34% among veterans, who make up about 13% of the electorate, Gallup reports.
Among non-veterans, Obama leads Romney by four points.
The Center for Custom Prosthetics in Naples, Florida, is making an impact on U.S. military veterans by providing them with unique prosthetic solutions. The Center also provides the same quality service that veterans receive to the general public, which includes creating custom prosthetic eyes, noses, ears, hands and more. Based out of the west coast of Florida, the practice will be expanding its reach this Fall by opening new offices on Florida's east coast.
Petraeus -- Holly, that is -- makes mark on military by putting herself between soldiers and swindlers
By Rick Hampson, USA Today
When 18,000 members of the Army's 101st Airborne Division flew back to Fort Campbell, Ky., in 2004 after a year in Iraq, Holly Petraeus was there to meet them, no matter the hour, the weather or her other duties.
'Blatantly misleading' enlistment agreements acknowledged
At the time, the deal seemed irresistible to Eric Hickam: Give six years to the Army, a recruiter told him in 2003, and you can get a $50,000 "kicker" -- the Army College Fund.
When his payments started coming last fall, his first year at Columbia University in New York City, the amount fell far short of what Hickam had anticipated. He thought the college fund was a bonus on top of his GI Bill, worth about $35,000 at the time. The Army says the $50,000 figure was a total of all benefits. Last month, it denied Hickam's appeal seeking $50,000 more than what he's receiving for his GI Bill.
By Elizabeth Samet
In his landmark 19th-century treatise "On War," Carl von Clausewitz asked "whether history has ever known a great general who was not ambitious; whether, indeed, such a figure is conceivable."
Clausewitz knew that ambition had gotten a bum rap: "Other emotions," he explained, "may be more common and more venerated -- patriotism, idealism, vengeance, enthusiasm of every kind --but they are no substitute for a thirst for fame and honor."
By David Lerman, Bloomberg News
The unemployment rate for U.S. veterans who've served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan increased last year, while the rate for non-veterans declined, the Labor Department reported yesterday.
CBS Evening News, 6:30 PM
SCOTT PELLEY: Finally tonight, America of course owes a great debt to the men and women who have sacrificed so much in more than a decade of war. But it turns out many are forced to wait months, even years, to get disability benefits. David Martin has been investigating whatâ€™s behind the delay.
Memphis, Tennessee - There are 58,673 veterans in Shelby County, and of those, about 39,000 are unemployed or receiving assistance from the unemployment office, according to Karla Davis, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Civilian employers are reluctant to hire them, they say.
By David Zucchino
WASHINGTON -- Matt Pizzo has a law degree, can-do attitude, proven leadership skills, and expertise in communications and satellite technology from his four years in the Air Force.
STORY SUBMITTED BY J.D. LEIPOLD, ARMY.MIL
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Army's Warrior Transition Command unveiled its three-pronged Hire a Veteran education campaign plan Monday.
The plan aims to help employers understand that wounded warriors can bring a wealth of leadership experience and skills to the table and to their bottom line.
"This campaign is about setting conditions, not just preparing our Soldiers for a new career as a veteran, but also preparing employers about this unique population who has so much to offer," said WTC Commander Brig. Gen. David J. Bishop in kicking off Warrior Care Month at the National Press Club.
All Things Considered (NPR), 4:10 PM
ROBERT SIEGEL: When sick or seriously wounded troops return home from combat duty, most are assigned to special units called Wounded Warrior battalions. These units aim to give thousands of soldiers and Marines the month they need to recover.
The Veterans Law Center provides support and counsel to America's Honorably Discharged Military Veterans, wherever they may be, and we do this free of charge to them.
Each state maintains its own Veteran Affairs office. It's in your best interest to connect with your state's VA office, as each state may offer unique tax benefits to veterans. Below, you'll find a links to each state's VA office, along with links to their benefits and contact pages. Keep in mind, however, even if you are a resident of the state, that does not mean you are automatically qualified to receive their VA benefits.
The Veterans Benefits Administration offers a variety of benefits and services to spouses, children, and parents of Servicemembers and Veterans who are deceased or totally and permanently disabled by a service-connected disability