Military

Department of Veterans Affairs

A worker with the Department of Veterans Affairs has been arrested in an alleged bribery scheme that federal authorities say targeted a program meant to help disabled veterans, women and other small business owners become successful contractors.

Hundreds of veterans are calling on Congress to scrap a seemingly unrelated attachment to this year’s defense spending bill.

pixabay.com

Each day about 20 veterans and active-duty service members take their own lives. It's a stubborn number that hasn't changed much since 2005. If the trend continues, 100,000 veterans and troops will have been lost to suicide by the end of this year.

Courtesy Ted Hummell

A few years ago, Ted Hummell got an odd call. It was the Department of Defense and they wanted his help in their efforts to identify the remains of his uncle, William Hellstern. Hummell, a 67-year-old Jaguar dealer who lives in Castle Rock, knew his uncle through his late mom.

"She cried every Dec. 7," Hummell said.

Matt Bloom/KUNC

A woman with electric blonde hair and floral print pants floated among the six dancing couples, stopping only to correct a step or give praise.

“Step! Step together, step! Step! Step together, step!” she yelled over the Diana Krall song coming from a stereo in the corner of the room. “So, scoot a little instead of marching, ok?!”

The floorboards in the basement of the Masonic Temple in Fort Collins creaked beneath Sandy Newlin’s feet as she came to a stop.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

After President Trump tweeted that the U.S. military would no longer “allow or accept” transgender people to serve, troops on the ground were left with uncertainty. Military leaders say the policy won’t change until top Pentagon officials figure out how to implement it.

Emma Shinn is a 41-year-old Coloradan and veteran. She served in the Marine Corps for 20 years before retiring in 2014. When she served there was a ban on transgender people. Last year, she transitioned.  

Michael de Yoanna

NPR's Daniel Zwerdling and Colorado journalist Michael de Yoanna reported in 2015 that 22,000 soldiers with traumatic brain injuries and mental health disorders were kicked out of the Army after serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The reason? Misconduct -- for things like driving while drunk or talking back to commanders. Psychological experts say those kinds of behaviors can also be symptomatic of "hidden" wounds incurred during combat.

Twelve U.S. senators demanded an investigation of the discharges after the two journalists released "Missed Treatment." The Army launched a probe in response. The journalists have now obtained that report. Rather than settle the controversy, the Army report is generating a new one

Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward / U.S. Navy

More than a million students enrolled in campuses across the country are veterans. Many of them served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Some saw horrific things in combat, lost comrades or were injured.

 

StoryCorps

As Veteran's Day approaches, the stories of veterans and their families offer a glimpse into the sacrifices they made while serving. In partnership with StoryCorps, KUNC presents a series of unique and powerful stories told by Colorado veterans and their families.  

Erin Holleran

Jim Sheeler won a Pulitzer Prize for his "poignant story on a Marine major who helps the families of comrades killed in Iraq cope with their loss and honor their sacrifice." He won the prize for feature writing in 2006, at a time when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were raging. Sheeler will talk about his work Tuesday night in Greeley, Colorado. He'll be joined by two other journalists – Linda McConnell and Barry Gutierrez.

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