The bombings at the Boston Marathon and the extensive manhunt that followed temporarily transformed the city of Boston into what some in the media called "a war zone." Now we're reaching out to those who've actually served in a war zone to hear your reaction.
In the coming weeks, we'll hear a series of reflections from veterans of different eras on the issue of mental health. The first, David Beatty, served in the Air Force from 1971 to 2003, and says he's still grappling with the invisible scars of combat.
If you served in the U.S. military, your expertise can help reporters tell the story of the modern veteran experience. Here are a few specific ways your experience can help others understand this generation of veterans.
The committee focused primarily on benefits claims -- and the time it takes for the VA to process them (see our ongoing coverage) -- as the department navigates what Gen. Allison Hickey, undersecretary for benefits, calls its "year of transformation and change."
A 2008 survey of returning service members found that about one-third of respondents said they had experienced some type of mental health issue since getting home. As these conflicts wind down, do we fully understand what the experience of combat can do to a person?
For service members returning home from combat, PTSD diagnoses are commonplace and extensive. But one VA psychologist argues that the complications of PTSD compound to create a 'moral injury' -- one that requires a community, not a clinic, in order to heal.
American forces are out of Iraq, and their exit from Afghanistan appears to be imminent. The withdrawal conversation often focuses on bases, equipment and the fitness of local security forces, but we're asking veterans what they left behind.
Veterans of many generations wrote to tell us how their experience in the military informs their views on the Pentagon's decision to expand the role of women in combat. Read their stories, then tell us yours.
Nearly 5 years after the Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect, there's no authoritative data on its progress. But this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs and student-veteran groups are pairing up to change that.
Mechel Glass knows that helping veterans manage their money goes far beyond understanding military benefits and special tax rules. Here is the advice she offers to other personal finance counselors who work with this growing population.
Sometimes "Thank you for your service" is not enough. We've heard this again and again from veterans young and old across the country. They've told us they appreciate the support people show them. But often those words of support don't get them a job. Or speed up their disability claims. Or keep them off the street.
When Eugenia Weiss started a career in social work, no one was talking about the needs of combat veterans or military families. She says her colleagues in the field have only recently recognized the unique needs and challenges of that fast-growing population.
Many service members teach themselves to suppress the physical manifestations of fear and anger. One former Marine tells us how he re-trained himself to feel those sensations -- and why he's helping others do the same.
Hiring enough mental health staff to serve service members is only so helpful if they don't understand military culture. A unique program at USC is training a new generation of social workers in the specific health issues facing returning servicemen and services and the ins and outs of military rank, jargon and lifestyle.
For years, advocates have warned of a looming shortage of mental health professionals to care for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which experts say have been particularly hazardous to mental health.
The number of incarcerated veterans is near impossible to pin down. And inmates who are also veterans don't have the kind of direct access to services specifically tailored to their needs that their counterparts on the outside do.
American troops are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan only to wait in line, joining a growing queue of veterans seeking compensation -- payments and other support -- from the Department of Veterans Affairs for service-related disabilities.
Across the country, local VA offices are struggling to process the backlog of more than 800,000 disability benefits claims. It can take months -- sometimes more than a year -- for veterans to find out how much, if at all, they'll be compensated for health issues related to their service.
In a recent reporting trip to Phoenix, where the backlog is severe, my colleague Samara Freemark and I spent a week meeting veterans, their families and the people and organizations who advocate for them.
Many of the men who train at the Spartan Academy are combat veterans, recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan. Some have been diagnosed with PTSD. Most are readjusting to civilian life after war. At the gym, they've found a place to work through both.
Kyle Dubay came home from three tours in Iraq frustrated, angry and isolated. He found his release, in part, at a mixed martial arts gym in Tempe, Ariz. That's where he also found Amanda. Theirs is a story of love, distance and dedication.
We've been reporting on wait times at Veterans Affairs offices for a few months now, and we'd like you to listen to a few things we've heard and tell us how they do (or don't) correspond with your experience.
More than 800,000 claims for disability benefits are languishing in the VA's overstretched system. Veterans -- often young -- waiting on their claims can find themselves in desperate financial straits. A fund in Arizona acts as a stopgap to get them through.
In an election year focused on economic issues more than foreign policy, Kristen McMillen is the exception. She's engaged to an Army infantryman -- and has found herself truly caring about an election's outcome for the first time in her voting life.
A New York Times article on duplicate payments in the VA's pension system echoes the systemic failures we detailed in our reporting on delays and overpayments in the processing of veterans' benefits claims.
Time and again, internal auditors at the Department of Veterans Affairs detailed improper processing of important paperwork in offices around the country. From disorganized file storage to months-long delays in processing, we're examining how these problems are affecting veterans.