military | KCUR

military

Segment 1: A new kind of Women's March in Kansas City aims to include more diverse voices.

Heather Sexton

Sexual assault remains a serious problem within the U.S. military, despite repeated efforts in Congress and the armed forces over the past five years to address it.

The Defense Department’s latest report estimated 20,500 service members were sexually assaulted in 2018, the highest number in four years. Many service members complain they face retaliation when they try to report the abuse, while nothing happens to the alleged perpetrators.

Segment 1: A new state system to determine Medicaid eligibility is under fire.

In Missouri this year, Medicaid enrollment numbers have dropped at more than twice the national rate, topping 7%. This means 120,000 people, including tens of thousands of children, have been dropped from the program. We heard answers as to why this is happening and how the state can and should respond.

Segment 1: Mark Dupree wants to make the Unified Government's justice system more equitable.

Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree talked with us about the summer expungement program, a new conviction integrity unit and the prosecution of Lamonte McIntyre, and calls from community members to fire Police Chief Terry Ziegler. It all fits into his larger effort to correct past wrongs in his jurisdiction.

Lance Cpl. Paul Ochoa / Communication Directorate

It's news no family wants to get — that a loved one who was serving in the military has died. But with more than 30,000 Marines deployed around the world and 183,000 on active duty, casualties are inevitable. The Marines who deliver that news are called Casualty Assistance Calls Officers.

It's a duty that comes with a host of emotions, though the role requires the utmost emotional control. Gunnery Sgt. Roger Ruiz, who is based at a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve regiment in Kansas City, Missouri, considers it an honor.

Segment 1: A former Lenexa principal wants others suffering from mental illness to learn from the mistakes he made trying to handle his depression.

Diagnosed with major depressive disorder, Cory Strathman resigned from his job as an elementary school principal following a DUI arrest. Now receiving mental health care services, Strathman is sharing his battle in hopes to eliminate the social stigma that kept him from receiving care.

Many high school students choose college as their destination after graduation, and receive lots of attention for that decision. A collection of high schools near Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood wanted to bring that same recognition to students who join the military.

Segment 1: Concerns linger regarding Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.

The largest manufacturing plant for smaller caliber rounds is in Independence, Missouri. It suffered an accidental explosion in 2017 causing the death of one person and injuring four more.  Chris Haxel explained what contributed to the fatal event and the operation's questionable safety record under the current contractor.

Courtesy of Chris Stewart

The skies across metropolitan Kansas City roared with the flight acrobatics of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels at the annual air shows at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base between Grandview and Belton, Missouri.

The sonic spectacles could draw more than a half a million people from around the region.

The base closed 25 years ago this year. But many of the enlistees and officers stayed in the Belton area, investing the town with an identity as a community of miltary retirees.

KCUR spoke to a group of the retirees at Belton's Carnegie Village Senior Living Community about their time on base.

“Sapper” is the Army’s nickname for the combat engineers who take on a variety of duties all centered around clearing the way for infantry to get where they need to go.

The name comes from the French word “sappe,” meaning to undermine and collapse a wall.

This week, 50 two-person teams of sappers from around the world are at Fort Leonard Wood in the Missouri Ozarks to compete against each other in an event designed to test the wide-ranging skills a sapper needs.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Donna Martin is the first woman to be in charge at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri’s Ozarks. She took the post in August. Martin, 53, is also only the third African American to hold the position in the installation’s 78-year history.

In an interview with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl, Martin talked about a variety of issues including how she balances the responsibilities to the military and to the community that relies upon the base:

Segment 1: Response and recovery to flooding in the Midwest.

We hear regional reactions to the devastating flood waters now making their way through Missouri, and learn about the recovery effort and how the Army Corps of Engineers is planning for the possibilty of more flooding this spring.

Segment 1: The Tomb of the Unkown Soldier is located at Arlington National Cemetery.

Established in 1921, the Tomb is the final resting place for unknown service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in both World Wars and the Korean War. Hear the history of the monument and what it takes to become a sentinel at this national landmark.

Lt. Col. Alfred Boone saw a disturbing trend among the new recruits he oversees at Fort Leonard Wood in the Missouri Ozarks.

“Infected blisters, hairline fractures, hip strains,” Boone said, describing the increase in injuries among the new soldiers.

Boone said the Army had a hunch that its iconic boots — the tan, heavy, high laced footwear — were to blame, because so many of the new recruits have never before worn hard-soled shoes.

MGN Online

Segment 1: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is asking for more than 300 new intake workers to address a backlog of applications to the state's Medicaid program.

Marco Verch / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: Some CBD advocates claim medicinal benefits, but research is still nominal. 

The market for CBD is growing, and a large number of shops have sprouted up around Kansas City. Users claim it helps with anxiety, Alzheimer's, and plenty other pains, but medical testing and research is still catching up to newly loosened law concerning the hemp-derived product. We discussed safety concerns and expectations for the future of this new emerging industry.

The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court on Friday to bypass lower courts and rule quickly on its ban of most transgender military members.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Once a week, Waynesville High School in south-central Missouri resounds with the celebratory air of a football game. The marching band has just completed a lap of the hallways, blaring the school’s theme song, “Eye of the Tiger.”

This school rocks with spirit, even though most of its 1,500 students didn’t grow up in Waynesville, and most of them won’t be staying long.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Money, money, money

People, apparently, still give money to the campaigns of congressional candidates. But the real action these days comes from different directions.

Consider, for instance, Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District. Sure, Democrat Paul Davis pulled in about $1.3 million over the last three months. And that’s more than four times Republican Steve Watkins collected from donors.

The recent summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jung Un included an agreement to return the remains of American soldiers still missing from the Korean War.

That has caught the interest of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita because one of the missing is Chaplain Emil Kapaun.

Kapaun was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2013 for his bravery in Korea and could become a saint of the Catholic Church. He died in a North Korean prisoner of war camp in 1951.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The two women wheel a grocery cart across the parking lot to a white van, open the door and shove kids’ toys out of the way.

Sandra Viloria and Amy Truckowski are friends and U.S. Army veterans who carpooled to the Leavenworth Mission Food Pantry to stock up on a week’s essentials — canned vegetables, bread, eggs and frozen meat. The food pantry is just a couple miles from Fort Leavenworth, the large U.S. Army installation in northeast Kansas.  

Claire Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Why global warming may be our military’s biggest threat.

While climate change may harm food production and lead to more intense wildfires, it also poses a hazard to our military. How can our armed forces respond? Today, we asked former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, who was director of the Marine Corps War College, to shed light on how our nation's military leadership is changing its approach to environmental issues.

File Photo / Luke X. Martin KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Why female voices are often overlooked by military historians.

Women make up approximately 15 percent of the military, but they still face obstacles different from their male counterparts. Today, we explored the history of women in the military, including the challenges American female service members have faced in recent years.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A statue at Fort Leavenworth pays tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers, the all African-American calvary formed after the Civil War. Today, John Bruce and George Pettigrew of the Buffalo Soldiers Alexander/Madison Chapter of Greater Kansas City explain the origins and accomplishments of these soldiers, who served with distinction until the last Buffalo Soldier units were disbanded in 1951.

Lane Pearman / Flickr - CC

Kansas doesn't usually rank high as an outdoor destination state. But, while there are no grand canyons, snowcapped peaks, or white sand beaches, it does have a subtle character all its own. Today, we meet two sisters-in-law who made a mission of visiting every state park in Kansas. They say outdoorsy-types might be giving the Sunflower State the short shrift. Then, only about 1 percent of Americans currently serve in the armed forces. While some see this as evidence of progress, others think it's a problem.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Author Whitney Terrell told the story of a female soldier in his novel, The Good Lieutenant. His consultant for that book, Angela Fitle, lived it in the Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom II. They share their thoughts on the female experience of war. Then children's author Brian Selznick reveals what it was like to condense his novel Wonderstruck​ into the screenplay for the just-released film version.

HuffPost

A federal judge on Monday partially blocked President Trump's ban on transgender recruits to the military.

In a 76-page opinion Monday, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia said parts of the president's ban are not supported by the evidence.

The judge's opinion reinstates Obama-era policy toward transgender service men and women, which lifted long-standing restrictions. For decades, the military identified gender non-conformity as a mental illness.  

Wikimedia Commons

During the Vietnam War, military conflict in Southeast Asia aggravated flaring social issues back home. Today, we discuss how activism during the war advanced the fight for civil rights on many fronts, and how mass protests then compare to today's resistance movements. Then, renowned biographer Walter Issacson takes us into the mind of Leonardo da Vinci.

Last month, at Milan Fashion Week, the models at the Missoni show walked the runway under a colorful fabric canopy that was created by a Blue Springs native. We chat with artist Rachel Hayes about her fabric sculptures.

How do Kansas Citians remember the Vietnam War? Two veterans and a conscientious objector look back. Have our memories of Vietnam shaped our responses to more recent conflicts?

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