18 and Enlisted


By Sierra Jiminez
News21 / Syracuse University

Military Suicide


An excerpt from "When He Came Home" by Matthew Nojiri.

“We can’t let our veterans fall through the cracks,” says Matt Kuntz, executive director of the National Alliance of Mental Illness in Montana. Kuntz has lead a national initiative for more thorough mental-health screening for returning soldiers and veterans after his stepbrother, an Iraq veteran, committed suicide in 2007. “We owe it to them to make sure they get the care they need when they come back.”

Women in the military


An Excerpt from "One of the Guys" by Sherri Williams

Now that women are the fastest growing demographic of veterans, agencies designed to help those in the service are being challenged to meet their unique needs.

More than 212,000 women have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and almost 130 have died, according to Defense Department statistics.

Wives Left Behind


By Sherri Williams
News21 / Syracuse University

Rayna Cawston has been through a war deployment. She understands the fear, loneliness and anxiety of having a husband in a combat zone.

When Rayna, 25, was afraid to sleep alone at night she had her girls — Mylia, 7, and Antya, 22 months — sleep with her. Scary noises Rayna heard at night prompted her to buy two intimidating dogs for an added sense of security. As Rayna’s loneliness lingered and her sadness swelled she started to take antidepressants, and had her family rally around her to support her.

Veteran Advises Recent Graduate

Adam Howerton plays the guitar at a farewell party

John Jones may have only spent three months fighting in the Vietnam War, but he‚'s got stories to prove that he experienced the wrath of combat overseas in such a short time.

While in Vietnam, John was shot at twice- first, when he was grazed by a sniper and then when a rocket grenade hit his tank, causing him to lose his left eye. It is the candidness of veterans like John that recent high school graduate Adam Howerton has come to appreciate.

The numbers

National data from and

Right now, as our teams get further into their story reporting, we're seeing trends and understanding local information, but we need to be able to compare that to the bigger national picture.

Self-inflicted: military suicides

Matt and I are researching mental health and veterans, including what can be done for returning veterans to help them adjust to civilian life and overcome trauma connected to their service.

A recent USA Today article highlighted the steady number of marines committing and attempting suicide.The article says that 80 active duty marines have committed suicide from January to May 2010, despite a training program meant to educate about this risk.

"Romance the spouse"

Liberty Chamberlain prepares to dip into the raffle hat. Photo by: Steve Davis

It looked like a cute baby convention‚ and in some measure it was. In fact, it was the ‚"Romancing the Spouse" event in DuPont, Wash., outside Tacoma and neighboring the Ft. Lewis military base. "We went expecting an army. We got one. An army of strollers," said Steve Konz, who purchased the 1,300-acre spread in 1961 that today is the K Diamond K dude ranch in rural northeastern Washington.

Boombox to Bugle

From video recorded by Kate Szrom

When Cindy Byers plays the classic military bugle song Taps, she never misses a note, her tone is perfect and she effortlessly jumps from one octave to another. Her range feels limitless.

That‚'s because tucked inside Cindy‚'s bugle is a miniature speaker. Cindy can‚'t actually play. For the last seven years, Byers, of Tonasket, has performed the song at local Memorial Day ceremonies without playing a single note.

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