veterans

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

The House has approved legislation that would make it harder to keep veterans who are "mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent" or prone to blackouts from buying guns. Critics of the bill say it could raise the suicide rate among veterans — a rate that has risen in the past decade.

At least a dozen Democrats joined Republicans to support the bill, which was approved by a 240-175 vote.

Did you know it’s worse to vandalize a public telephone than deface a Veterans’ monument in Florida? As one of the most populous states for veterans, Florida lawmakers are trying to correct that.

There’s a growing movement to help veterans transition from the battlefield to a more bucolic setting. Whether it’s a community agriculture initiative or a functioning farm – researchers are finding that raising food can offer veterans both a therapeutic and an economic value.

Florida’s veterans could enjoy two full months without sales tax if one South Florida lawmaker gets his way.  But he’ll face an uphill battle in a year with so little new money available.

By its own analysis, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs calculates that Florida only has 20 percent of the VA-sponsored nursing home beds it needs to serve aging veterans. And it’s put the state on a “critical” list when it comes to building VA nursing homes.

An Army review concludes that commanders did nothing wrong when they kicked out more than 22,000 soldiers for misconduct after they came back from Iraq or Afghanistan – even though all of those troops had been diagnosed with mental health problems or brain injuries.

The Army's report, ordered by Secretary Eric Fanning, seeks to reassure members of Congress that it's treating wounded soldiers fairly. But senators and military specialists say the report troubles them.

Veterans consider the next commander-in-chief

Nov 11, 2016
R
Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Veterans Day 2016 came the same week as a significant and divisive election. Veterans, like other groups of Americans, were divided in their voting.

We reached out to more than a thousand vets. Many offered strong opinions.

Mark Schermerhorn from Murfreesboro, Tenn., texted to us: "Thank God Trump won!"

Others wanted to make sure the new president does something about health care for veterans. Phil Moyart of San Jose, California, wrote, "Make America great again, reform the health-care delivery services of the Veterans Administration."

The Department of Veterans Affairs is struggling with another huge backlog and this time it is not veterans waiting for medical appointments.

Currently, a veteran who has had a disability claim denied must wait - on average four to five years - for an appeals hearing. VA Secretary Bob McDonald predicts that will grow to a 10-year backlog if laws aren’t changed.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  Over the weekend, many people in South Florida and throughout the nation took part in ceremonies marking the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

One group of South Florida military veterans observed the anniversary by providing more service. The Miami platoon of The Mission Continues nonprofit traveled to Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park.

  The group has been working with the Suncoast chapter of the National Parks Conservation Association to help out the parks. The National Park Service is marking its centennial this year.

World War II pilot Elaine Harmon, who died last year at the age of 95, wanted to be laid to rest with her fellow veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.

And on Wednesday, Harmon's wish was fulfilled — thanks to a dedicated effort by her family and a law passed by Congress.

Harmon was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, a group of female pilots who flew military planes in noncombat missions in order to free up male pilots for fighting.

The Chalcraft Family

The toughest writing assignment 16-year-old Konner Ross will have this year is to write a eulogy for a young man she’s never met. But there’s a part of him the Largo High School junior never forget – his green eyes.

“They have his wallet from when they found it on the beach and on his identification card, it says (he has) green eyes and brown hair,” Ross said. “I didn't know he had green eyes until then. So, that seems like something small, but it was really cool to learn for some reason.”

R
Carlos Barria/Reuters

President Barack Obama's visit to Hiroshima and the trip immediately preceding it, to Vietnam, have powerful and historic symbolism. And for Americans who served in Vietnam, and the dwindling band of World War II veterans, the visits have special significance.

We were curious, too, to find out how veterans of more recent US wars were reacting. We reached out to our online veteran community and asked them: "What's your reaction to Obama's Vietnam and Hiroshima trip? And how much do World War II and the Vietnam War shape your worldview?"

A Florida congressman says the Veterans Administration cut off the benefits of more 4,200 people nationwide after they were wrongly declared dead.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

 

As the number of veterans grows after 15 years of war, so do the number of veteran- and military-related charities. Today, there are an estimated 40,000 charities listed as serving vets and active duty military. But not all are legitimate.

Sandra Miniuitti, vice president of marketing for Charity Navigator, said there has been a 77 percent increase in these charities between 2000 and 2008, and a 41 percent increase in the past eight years.

CHARLES TRAINOR JR / Miami Herald

Steve Ligeikis has forgotten what happened to the cat.

“Alek!” The ex-military man scans each corner of the living room, looking for the familiar figure of the orange tabby to appear, purring against his legs.

His voice rises with anxiety on this rainy Sunday afternoon. “Alek!”

Steve’s wife, Emma, flinches by the front door of their two-bedroom apartment in suburban Fort Lauderdale.

Pages