military

Investigative
10:30 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

Unraveling the mysteries of the GI Bill, Coast Guard and EPA

“The programs we offer are the ones that (veterans) desire,” says Garland Williams, the University of Phoenix’s vice president for military affairs.
Credit Carlos A. Moreno / CIR

Update 10:30 p.m.

The showed has already aired on Michigan Radio. If you missed it, you can catch it again here.

Original post- 11:30 a.m.

Who’s really benefiting from the GI Bill? Why does the U.S. Coast Guard have some explaining to do? How much arsenic in our water is actually safe? There’s always more to the story.

“Reveal,” the radio show dedicated to investigative reporting, is back. Brought to you by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, the third pilot episode examines the value of a degree from a for-profit colleges reaping millions of dollars from GI Bill funds, explores the Coast Guard’s shaky safety record, exposes the backroom deals over arsenic in our water and delves into the secrecy around lethal injection drugs.

Catch Reveal tonight on Michigan Radio at 7 p.m.!

Here’s a rundown of the stories you’ll hear:

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Stateside
5:38 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Experts say programs for veterans' mental health aren't working

John M. Cropper Flickr

Let's continue our look at military veterans in Michigan. Yesterday on the show, we talked about the disconnect between saying that we want to help veterans and actually putting policy into place that does that.

Today, we turned our focus to mental health.

Data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates about 22 vets a day are committing suicide.

And it's estimated one in five veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

There are dozens of programs the military has set up to help treat the mental illnesses and troubles vets are suffering.

But a panel of experts studied programs from the U.S. Department of Defense and came to a very unsettling conclusion: There is no evidence these programs actually work.

The report shows the programs were not created from evidence-based research, and do not have an evaluation process to see if they are effective or not.

Kenneth Warner chaired the research panel. He's also in the Department of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.

*Listen to the interview above.

Stateside
5:20 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Michigan is last when it comes to per-capita spending for veterans

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

There is no shortage of attention showered upon our veterans. A true bipartisan show of support happened during the State of the Union speech, when President Obama singled out wounded Army Ranger Cory Remsburg for a standing ovation.

We stand up to offer ovations, we wave flags, we cheer our vets, but what are we really offering them in terms of support?

When it comes to per-capita spending for veterans, Michigan is last in the nation.

What should we be doing for the 700,000 military veterans who call Michigan home?

Kristin Hass joined us today. She’s the American Culture Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan. And she’s the author of "Sacrificing Soldiers: New War Memorials on the National Mall."

*Listen to our interview above.

Stateside
5:28 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Will defense cuts kill Michigan's 'Warthogs'?

An A-10 Warthog.
user foqus Flickr

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel unveiled his latest budget proposal. And it is clear that as the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, the Obama administration's priority is now reducing military size and spending.

Secretary Hagel declared that budget reductions cut “so deep, so quickly, that we cannot shrink the size of our military fast enough.”

For instance, the active-duty Army would shrink to its smallest level since just before the U.S. entered World War II. There would be base closings, troop cuts, trimmed salary increases, and the complete elimination of several Air Force aircraft fleets.

That includes the A-10, an aircraft that dates back to the Cold War.

The A-10, also known as "The Warthog," was designed to take out Soviet tanks.

Twenty-four of America's 300 Warthogs are at Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Mt Clemens in Macomb County. Eliminating that fleet would be a gut punch to Selfridge.

Here to explain is Detroit News Washington Bureau Chief David Shepardson.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Investigative
2:17 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

In Michigan, sharp increase in opiate prescriptions to veterans

Tim Fazio is shown during his service in Fallujah, Iraq. His medical diagnoses include PTSD, traumatic brain injury and anxiety, mental conditions for which opiates hinder recovery, studies show.
courtesy Tim Fazio

The Department of Veteran Affairs may be overprescribing opiates to veterans — and in some cases, prescribing to those with known opiate addictions.

An investigative report from PRX and the Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that the VA agency “has issued more than one opiate prescription per patient, on average, for the past two years.”

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Stateside
4:06 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

MSU student produces documentary dedicated to casualties of Operation Enduring Freedom

Logan Stark is the producer of the documentary "For the 25."
Twitter

An interview with former Marine sniper Logan Stark.

In October 2010, the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines deployed to Afghanistan. They were sent to relieve the British Royal Marines in the southern Helmand Province, a hotbed of insurgent fighters and IEDs.

Twenty-five Marines in the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines did not come home.

One of those who did come home went on to become a student at Michigan State University. Former Marine sniper Logan Stark is now a senior in MSU's Professional Writing Program.

As a class project, Logan formed a three-member team that produced a documentary called "For the 25" dedicated to his fallen brothers in the "Dark Horse" battalion, which suffered the highest number of casualties in 2010 during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Logan Stark joined us in the studio today.

You can watch "For the 25" below.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
10:32 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Federal budget sequestration cuts affect Battle Creek airshow

The U. S. Air Force Demonstration Team, the Thunderbirds performed at the Battle Creek 2012 Field of Flight Air Show.
Field of Flight facebook page

The effect of the federal budget sequestration can be seen this week at a popular air show in Battle Creek.

Or more accurately, won’t be seen.

Since the late 1980’s, the Field of Flight Airshow and Balloon festival in Battle Creek has featured high performance military aircraft.  Not this year.

The federal budget sequestration has grounded a lot of the aircraft the U-S military routinely sends to airshows.

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Arts & Culture
12:06 am
Thu May 30, 2013

This summer, 50 Michigan museums are free for active military families

Military families get in free to the DIA and 49 other Michigan museums this summer
Maia C/Flickr

You can almost feel the parental summer panic start to kick in. 

School is almost out.

And there are only so many times you can take the kids to the pool before you all go insane.

Those long, hot days can be especially tough for military families, who may only have one parent at home.

That's why 50 Michigan museums are opening their doors, free of charge, to active military personnel and their families this summer.

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Offbeat
3:45 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Small community attempts to 'make it right' for Michigan soldier whose medals came late

Boyscouts line up to shake Wright's hand and thank him for his service.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Update 5/29/13: This story has been corrected to reflect Wright’s rank as Specialist, not Sergeant. Wright misrepresented his rank during the formal event.  

Memorial Day was particularly special for an injured Iraqi war veteran from Allegan.

Hundreds huddled close at Oakwood Cemetery Monday morning. Some wept as Amy Wright finally pinned a Purple Heart on her husband’s uniform. He kneeled so his 7-year old daughter Torin could pin on the other one.

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Investigative
12:19 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Michigan veterans' disability claims continue to pile up

Former Marine Adam Fields, 27, of Modesto, Calif., has been waiting since November 2010 for a ruling on his claim for benefits for traumatic brain injury.
Michael Short Center for Investigative Reporting

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., says we are failing when it comes to providing health care to those who have served in the military:

"Our nation has a moral obligation to provide quality health care to the men and women who put on our nations uniform and are injured and wounded fighting our nations wars… Our responsibility ends only when the wounds are healed…I am sad to say that we as a nation are not meeting this obligation."

He made these remarks in early April during an opening statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee Joint Hearing on Department of Defense and Veteran Affairs.

Back in August of 2012, we reported on the long wait time for veterans filing disability claims.

At the time of our report, veterans in our area were waiting an average of 319 days for a decision from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs on their disability claims. The national average was 257 days.

Unfortunately, there have been few improvements.

Today, the average wait time in our area is 321 days, a slight increase since 2011. And according to a Missouri Watchdog report published last week, the national average has increased to 290 days.

This map shows the number of backlogged VA claims around the country. The Center for Investigative Reporting updates the map every Monday to show changes in each office's pending claims.

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Culture
10:21 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Group raising money to build Michigan's World War II memorial

An artists rendering of the WWII memorial.
Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial

Organizers are hoping to build a World War II memorial in Michigan.

The Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial would be built in Royal Oak's Memorial Park along Woodward Avenue.

The memorial would honor Michigan's role in building what FDR called the "Arsenal of Democracy" and the men and women who served. From the group's website:

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Economy
11:54 am
Wed December 5, 2012

$60 million for military contractors in Michigan

An M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank in Iraq in 2004. Components of the tank are built in Michigan.
U.S. Dept. of Defense

That's money military contractors in Michigan have received in the last week. Most of the money is coming from foreign governments, according to Crain's Detroit Business:

Sterling Heights-based General Dynamics Land Systems won a $37.6 million single-bid modification to a previous contract to fund a coproduction effort on the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank in Egypt.

The company has had an agreement with the Egyptian government dating back to the early 1990s for the M1A1, which generally involves some component production in the U.S. and final vehicle assembly in that country.

Including Egypt, other Michigan related contracts are coming from Iraq and Israel, according to Crain's.

Politics & Government
2:15 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Possible Petraeus replacements? Michigan's Mike Rogers on the list

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-8th)
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

While politicians argue over who knew what and when with regard to the FBI's investigation into CIA Director David Petraeus' extra-marital affair, many insiders are speculating over who his replacement will be.

Today, the chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times David Sanger wrote about possible replacements.

And way down at the bottom of his article, Sanger lists Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers (R-8th District) as a possible replacement:

Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a former F.B.I. official and could sail through confirmation hearings and give a bipartisan air to the administration’s efforts, as Mr. Petraeus did.

A Rogers appointment seems less likely next to names like Michael J. Morell, Mr. Petraeus' deputy, and retired C.I.A. operative John O. Brennan.

MLive said Rogers' office had no immediate comment.

In the meantime, Congressman Mike Rogers is one of those on the Capitol working to find out why members were not briefed on the FBI's investigation. From the NYTimes:

A spokesman for Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said the lawmaker had summoned Sean Joyce, the F.B.I.’s deputy director, and Michael J. Morrell, the deputy C.I.A. director, for closed briefings on Wednesday about the investigation.

Military
5:13 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

After Afghanistan, one unit's new mission: cope as civilians

MSU Professor Adrian Blow will lead the study on military families
Kurt Stepnitz Michigan State University News

After a year's deployment in Afghanistan, 600 members of Michigan's National Guard are coming home. They'll join the ranks of 19,00 local Guardsmen and women who’ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But this particular unit will soon embark on a new mission. And this time, they're bringing their families.

For 3 years, the veterans, their spouses, and children will be part of a Michigan State University study on how families cope with life after combat.

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Investigative
4:44 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Veterans' disability claims in limbo at Michigan VA office (share your story)

Former Marine Adam Fields, 27, of Modesto, Calif., has been waiting since November 2010 for a ruling on his claim for benefits for traumatic brain injury.
Michael Short Center for Investigative Reporting

We've written before about the "unfinished business" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan... caring for thousands of vets who are coming home after multiple tours with symptoms of PTSD or other disabilities.

Vets seeking benefits to help with their disabilities can face long wait times.

Thanks to a new analysis released today by the Center for Investigative Reporting, we can get a sense for how long those wait times are.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:12 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

US Congressmen Amash, Huizenga weigh in on “sequestration” debate

US Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-Mich) at a Kent County unity party following the primary this week.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

President Obama and leaders in Congress will need to agree on a way to reduce the federal budget deficit to avoid automatic, sweeping cuts in January. There’s concern that the cuts could have a damaging effect on the economy and military programs.

The cuts are looming because Congress authorized the federal government to borrow more money last summer. In exchange, a bi-partisan super committee (Michigan Congressmen Dave Camp and Fred Upton served on the committee) was supposed to come up with a plan to cut the federal deficit. But that committee failed.

Congressman Justin Amash says, yeah, he called it.

"…That they would raise the debt ceiling, borrow more and then later on say ‘oh we don’t want to do these cuts’ and that’s exactly what’s happening,” Amash said.

Amash, who represents Michigan’s 3rddistrict, was the only Republican from Michigan to vote against what he says was a “phony plan” to begin with.

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Politics & Government
11:09 am
Tue August 7, 2012

Judge allows wiggle room on some absentee ballots

user jdurham MorgueFile.com

Local governments that missed a June deadline to send absentee ballots to Michigan members of the armed forces still can count the votes if they're returned after Tuesday.

A federal judge in Grand Rapids approved a compromise Monday between the U.S. Justice Department and the state of Michigan. The government filed a lawsuit after learning that dozens of clerks missed the deadline.

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Afghanistan
12:20 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Michigan service set for Army nurse who died on Skype chat

ADDISON, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan memorial service is Saturday for a U.S. Army nurse who died suddenly in Afghanistan during a computer video chat with his wife.

The service for 43-year-old Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Addison Middle School, about 70 miles southwest of Detroit. He grew up in Michigan.

Clark was assigned to a medical center in El Paso, Texas, and then deployed to Afghanistan in March. His wife, Susan Orellana-Clark, was in Texas chatting with him via Skype on April 30 when he collapsed. The death is under investigation.

A funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in western New York.

Clark's wife is from Spencerport, N.Y. He and his family lived there for six years before he joined the Army in 2006.

Politics
11:22 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Michigan Gov. Snyder makes unannounced trip to Afghanistan

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The Detroit Free Press reports that Gov. Snyder has made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan to visit the troops, his spokesman confirmed today.

Snyder is in Afghanistan after a stop in Kuwait and will next move to Germany with a delegation that includes the governors of Rhode Island and South Dakota, Ryan Kazmirzack said.

Snyder is to do a conference call with reporters in Michigan early this afternoon.

The trip was organized through the Department of Defense, Kazmirzack said.

Seeking Change
10:45 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Helping the LGBT military community

Every Monday morning we speak with someone who is trying to change their community. Today, as our Seeking Change series continues, we speak with Ariana  Bostian-Kentes. She's the co-founder of the group Military Partners and Families Coalition. It’s a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and  transgender partners of active military service members. The founders came together after testifying in Washington D.C. before  the group analyzing the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, and what would happen post-repeal.

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