Veterans

Courtesy of Mark Miller

Veteran's Day is a time when we honor veterans, but it's also a time when veterans reflect on their time in the service. They’re not always pleasant memories.

Mark Miller is an associate professor of business at Carthage College. But there was a year he once said he’d never talk about – a year spent as a sergeant on the front lines in Vietnam.

Courtesy of Martin Hintz

Near the end of World War II, Army Air Corps Lt. Loren Hintz was based in Italy, when his plane was shot down. He was considered missing in action, until parts of the wreckage were found a while later and he was declared to have been killed. But the crash site was never found - before this year.

Milwaukee writer Martin Hintz was not yet born when his father died. This summer, a team of people helped him uncover his father’s crash site in Italy. 

Military veterans have to tailor their resumes in order to clearly link their experience to the qualifications of the civilian job they're seeking. They also face another challenge: living without the routine and fellowship they had grown accustomed to in military life.

Randy Jackson of South Milwaukee served in the Navy in Desert Storm and left the military in 1993. He says it took him years to adjust to life as a civilian.

Ann-Elise Henzl Reporter Milwaukee Public Radio

Many employers say they offer plenty of opportunities for new veterans just entering the civilian workforce. Yet some vets have to overcome hurdles as they begin their new careers.

When you hear glowing words like these about veterans, it seems like it should be a breeze for them to find jobs:

"They've had more experiences, they've been around the world, which certainly lends to the global environment that we have in our industry."

"They have the work ethic, the dependability, the maturity."

Bonnie Petrie

Rochelle Lopez lived in her car in the Milwaukee area for six months after serving two tours of duty in Iraq. Her story is not unique.  Female veterans are now the fastest-growing segment of America’s homeless population.

Peter Alfred Hess / Flickr

Later this week, the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center will host a screening of the documentary, Mettle & Honor: The Greatest Generation, followed by a forum featuring some local veterans of World War II. The forum is co-sponsored by WUWM and Milwaukee Public Television, and will be moderated by Lake Effect's Bonnie North.

justasc, folotia

This election year, WUWM and other public radio stations have collaborated with NPR on A Nation Engaged. The project has probed voters on how they feel about a variety of issues.

In our final installments this week, we ask Milwaukeeans what it means to them to be Americans, and what the next president could do to advance that vision. We collected these responses at a job fair for veterans in Milwaukee.

Susan Bence

This year's Milwaukee Film Fest will feature the documentary Almost Sunrise, which chronicles the journey of two Milwaukee area natives as they struggle with deep emotional scars after tours of duty in Iraq.

Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson set off from the Milwaukee County War Memorial on October 30, 2013 to walk across the country.

Zablocki Veteran's Administration Medical Center

The United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs provides government-run benefits for veterans and their families.

While the VA in its current form has only been around since 1930, the country’s history of providing for disabled veterans goes back to before the U.S. was even a country.

In 1636, the European settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were at war with the Pequot tribe. The colony passed a law then that stated it would support any disabled soldiers from that war. And we have provided for our veterans in some form ever since.

Susan Bence

Monday to mark Memorial Day, veterans and people who support them will gather at 4th and Wisconsin, and parade to the War Memorial Center. The Milwaukee tradition dates back to 1865. After the procession, a wreath laying ceremony will take place at the reflecting pool.

Vietnam veteran Peter Pochowski is helping oversee the restoration of the structure. He serves as chairman of the board of trustees of the War Memorial Center.

: Wisconsin Veterans Museum

For decades, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum has been collecting the personal stories of people who've served in the military. They reflect on their time in uniform, the impact of their service, and their thoughts about it today.     

Some of the reflections the veterans share are intense, especially those recalling fallen soldiers. Other stories are mundane at first, before becoming dramatic.

NPR — together with member stations from across the country — has been reporting on troubles with the Veterans Choice program, a $10 billion plan created by Congress two years ago to squash long wait times veterans were encountering when going to see a doctor. But as we reported in March, this fix needs a fix.

Jerry Huddleston / Flickr

The Waffle House may seem an unlikely source of inspiration for chefs in a northern city like Milwaukee, especially when you consider there are no Waffle Houses in the state of Wisconsin. But the folks from Milwaukee Chefs for Homeless Vets are hoping the Southern-style fare will entice even the cheesiest of Cheeseheads to come out and support their cause. 

US Army photo

November brings Veterans Day, and also this year the fiftieth anniversary of the major battle in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam involving the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division. Casualty rates on both sides made this one of the costliest battles of that long war, and ironically reinforced the strategies of both Hanoi and Washington.

A decade later in 1975, Hanoi's overall approach was confirmed when North Vietnamese regulars overran the capital of South Vietnam, now Ho Chi Minh City, as the few remaining Americans evacuated.

Mitch Teich

When Al Exner looks back at his grandkids today, he’s shocked at how different their experience as 18-year-olds is from what he experienced when he was their age.

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