Topic: Healthcare

Master Sgt. Darryl Sterling, 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron equipment manager, throws trash into a burn pit at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, in 2008. Photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter, courtesy U.S. Air Force.

“It’s so inaccurate”—How the VA Is Failing to Track Veterans Burn Pit Claims

VA figures show an astonishingly low rate of approval of burn pit claims: Of the 10,588 claims, 2,360 veterans had their benefits granted and 8,228 were denied.

“Pulling the Crazy Card”—Choosing to Show Empathy for a Suicidal Sailor

Thibaut Delloue rushed a suicidal sailor to shore after he asked for help on deployment only to see his shipmate ostracized and labeled a malinger.
Roy and Andrew van Wey in Husaybah, Iraq. Photo courtesy of the author.

“They Didn’t Make It?”—When Your Brother’s Homecoming Starts in a Burn Ward

After an IED exploded in Iraq, a badly burned Marine asks his brother if his teammates survived. “He knows I won’t lie to him. We are both warriors.”
The F/A-18 Hornet Mark Fox flew when he faced a MiG during Operation Desert Storm being restored to display at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. Photo courtesy of Fox.

30 Years On, Veterans Recall the Desert Storm Air War

People tend to remember Desert Storm as a short, easy war. Compared with the “forever” wars, that makes sense: a 100-hour blip in the annals of history.
Brandon Alt, right, was one of at least six Marines and Navy corpsmen who deployed from Camp Pendleton, California, to Afghanistan in 2010 who later developed seizures or seizure-like episodes. Photo courtesy of Brandon Alt.

Mystery Seizures Haunt Marine Units a Decade after Deployment

Seizures among veterans are surging. Some blame PTS and TBI. Others blame toxic exposures.
An ammunition specialist carries a 105 mm armor-piercing, discarding sabot round, to be used in an M1 Abrams tank, during Desert Shield. Photo by Sgt. Brain Cumper, courtesy of U.S. Army.

Fighting to Go Home: Operation Desert Storm, 30 Years Later

The Pentagon expected roughly 40% of Americans would be wounded or killed but “the Iraqi army wasn’t nearly as formidable as everyone made them out to be.”
Caption: The Silent Drill Platoon performs at Quantico’s Lejeune Hall. According to the Corps, the platoon “exemplifies the professionalism associated with the United States Marine Corps.” Photograph by Gunnery Sgt. Ezekiel Kitandwe

Senior Marine Corps Counsel Ridicules Sexual Assault Survivor at Court-Martial Hearing

Defense attorneys alleged unlawful command influence, that Marines denied the defendant due process. Judge described Corps’ behavior as “a step too far.”
Soldiers, including the author (far right back row), from the 17th Signal Battalion pose in MOPP gear during the ground war.

Chemicals. Chemicals. And More Chemicals. A Veteran Reflects on Her Time in Desert Storm

For decades, the U.S. has poisoned service members with toxic chemicals. Lotions. Pills. Testing. Burn pits. And then there’s the enemy’s chemical weapons.
Children from a nearby village pose for a photograph in Zharay district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, in 2012. Photo by Spc. Jason Nolte, courtesy of U.S. Army.

“I Screamed Into My Radio to Ignore the Order”—Pardoned Soldier’s Comrade Still Lives With Guilt of Murdered Civilians

When Clint Lorance ordered his men to kill innocent civilians in Afghanistan, the soldiers came home and struggled to assuage their feelings of guilt.