Veterans

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...

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. Exner grew up and graduated high school in Racine, WI. After graduating at age 17, he planned on attending medical school. However, World War II interrupted that dream. Exner enlisted in the Navy's Medicals Corps to feed his curiosity about medicine and to get as much experience as possible. After nine weeks at boot camp and 30 days...

George Rex / Flickr

Military service was long seen as, if not a prerequisite, then certainly as a desired quality for people wishing to be President of the United States. But in more recent years that attitude has shifted, and today only a minority of the field seeking both major parties’ nominations has served in uniform. "Only with World War II did we start on a regular basis to have military veterans serving in the White House - every president from Harry S. Truman through George H.W. Bush," explains Cyr....

Mitch Teich

For more than two decades, Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Lutheran High School has held a service to honor veterans on Veterans Day. The service typically introduces students to someone who has served in some capacity in the armed forces, and this year’s honored speaker has a unique story to tell. Lieutenant Colonel Henry Ratenski served in what was then the Army Air Force at the end of World War II...the very end. The 91-year-old Ratenski, who lives in Brookfield, flew in the last mission of World...

Milwaukee Children's Choir

Next week is Veterans Day, and there are a number of commemorations scheduled, from the annual Veterans Day parade to memorials and observances. The Milwaukee Children’s Choir will present a special concert in honor of veterans. “American Homeland: A Veterans Day Concert” is scheduled for Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee. What was originally a one-time concert last year has expanded into a tour visiting soldiers stationed at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Rockford, Illinois and Arlington Heights,...

DVIDSHUB / Flickr

Yesterday, a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiled three Wisconsin veterans with a story that’s not often heard. They’re transgender veterans, who each served and were discharged honorably. Reporter Meg Jones' article explores how the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs are dealing with transgender service members. "What really kind of struck me was just the high numbers of transgendered veterans there are," Jones says. "And I found out through my research that amongst...

Dennis Felber Photography

More than 25,000 students began the fall semester last week UW-Milwaukee. About 1,000 are military veterans. More vets attend UWM than any other university in a six-state region. While you might find military veterans at lots of places on campus, you’re sure to run across a few at the Military and Veterans Resource Center ( MAVRC ). It's tucked into a corner of the student union. Daniel Kafka has cracked open the book he just bought for his Italian language class. But he stops to shoot the...

naneek.com

Thanks to the efforts of contemporary veterans and medical experts, public awareness of combat related post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is far more prevalent than it once was. Being diagnosed with it no longer carries the stigma it once did either in or out of the military. However, it was a different story for veterans like Tim "Naneek" Keenan. Keenan is a Vietnam veteran from Traverse City, Michigan. He’s been dealing with PTSD since he returned from combat. In an attempt to heal...

Army Medicine / Flickr

Many military service members return from war with traumatic battlefield injuries and often require intensive and prolonged care. Injuries can range from lost limbs, partial or complete paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries, and veterans often deal with PTSD for the rest of their lives. The US Veteran's Administrationn is in charge of taking care of these wounded warriors. The VA has come under fire for the way it has handled it's mission, but the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs...

UPDATE: A photo of Willie Bedford has been found and confirmed. It means Wisconsin has obtained photographs of all its 1,161 soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. Searchers had hoped to find all of them by Memorial Day, but Bedford remained particularly elusive. He attended high school in MPS, and perhaps the stumbling block was that his high school yearbook listed him as B. Bedford. Andrew Johnson, owner and publisher of the Dodge County Pioneer Newspaper started the search, after his son...

Erin Toner

During emotional hearings about the alleged overprescription of narcotics at the Tomah VA hospital , many who testified noted there are safer ways to treat pain. One treatment mentioned was acupuncture. Larry Burt sought out the needle therapy at a clinic in Waukesha that’s helping veterans reduce their use of narcotics. Burt, 68, is one of many vets struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He’s also been hooked on alcohol, cigarettes and chewing tobacco. To fight his addictions, the...

emilygraytedrowe.com / St. Martin's Press

In the days since the Vietnam War, our society has gotten better, if not perfect, at recognizing the challenges faced by veterans returning home from combat. Their stories have been told more frequently, and more organizations exist to help them readjust. But a new novel by a Midwestern writer focuses on a lesser-told story – that of the families of wounded veterans, and the issues they face trying to nurture their loved ones back to health. Emily Gray Tedrowe is the author of Blue Stars ,...

Erin Toner

As abuse of drugs and alcohol by veterans increases around the country, Milwaukee leaders are trying to tackle the issue using the court system.

Courtesy of John Wohlrabe Jr.

On this Veteran’s Day, we introduce you to a former Navy chaplain who counseled thousands of troops over a 22-year-career -- the Rev. John Wohlrabe Jr. of St. Francis.

Erin Toner

More than four decades ago, the U.S. military blanketed Vietnam with Agent Orange and researchers continue to find ways the toxic herbicide has sickened the nation's veterans.

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