U.S. Military | KCUR

U.S. Military

Randy Brown

Randy Brown was barely talking yet when his father shipped out for Vietnam. To close the distance over the course of that deployment, Brown's parents made recordings for each other.

"The first time that he heard my tiny, little voice was probably on one of those little three-inch audio reels," says Brown, who is now retired from the Iowa Army National Guard.

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

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: A New York Times reporter sees votes for Quinton Lucas as votes for neighborhoods.

The weekend before Kansas City's mayoral election, a story appeared in the New York Times suggesting that this election came down to a choice: continued emphasis on downtown, or a shift toward prioritizing neighborhoods struggling in downtown's shadow. The author joins us to reflect on the outcome.

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.

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.

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.

J. Robert Schraeder

Say a woman wants to serve in the United States Army. No problem, right? Women are eligible. But, dial it back 160 years to the Civil War, and consider that women couldn’t just pop into a recruiting station and sign up.

"We know that about 250 (women) were documented as fighting in the U.S. Army, but those are only the ones who were discovered. Historians think it's over 2,000 women," says Boston playwright Wendy Lement.

Matthew Bruch / U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs

Kansas and Missouri lawmakers on both sides of the party lines said they don't support President Donald Trump's sudden announcement that he would withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. 

Attercop311 / Wikimedia Commons

Segment 1: Kansas farmers hope to boost agricultural economy with new cash crop.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer in April signed off on a bill that included the Alternative Crop Research Act, which effectively allows the Kansas Department of Agriculture to oversee the cultivation of industrial hemp. Although hemp is famously difficult to maintain, both seasoned and novice Kansas farmers are eager to cash in on one of the most lucrative crops in American history.

Kansas Historical Society

Segment 1: Former Kansas Democratic governor on the approaching midterm elections.

In 1979 John Carlin began the first of two terms as Kansas governor. He went on to work as the Eighth Archivist of  the United States by appointment of President Bill Clinton. Today, as a Kansas State University professor and leading figure in local civic engagement, he's still heavily involved in state and the state of politics. We got his take on the race for his former office.

U.S. Navy

Politicians from both parties in Kansas and Missouri have voiced their support of President Donald Trump's decision to launch airstrikes in Syria Friday night. The bombings targeted chemical weapons research and storage facilities after a recent suspected chemical attack on civilians in Syria.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, commended the president for responding quickly to the suspected chemical attack.

"I support this effort and believe the president has the full authority to take these actions," Blunt said in a written statement

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.

Jon Demlar

Francis Sommer had planned a vacation to Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain to visit an Army buddy. The friendship arose from a particularly fraught 2006 deployment to Afghanistan, and the two looked forward to reconnecting in a peaceful, beautiful place.

But it was Robert Sommer, Francis’ father, who spent the day with the friend.

Francis was killed in 2011.

Chr. Barthelmess / Library of Congress

Anyone who has even a hazy memory of Bob Marley's song "Buffalo Soldier" knows the broad historical brush strokes of the African-American soldiers.

"Stolen from Africa, brought to America," the song goes. "Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival."

The full history is more complicated.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

Today, Stuart Swetland is the president of Donnelly College, which U.S. News & World Report recently recognized as the most diverse college in the Midwest. But in 1985, when TWA Flight 847 was hijacked, he was a Navy officer who was called to participate in a rescue mission with grim chances for survival. Hear his story.

Guest:

  • Stuart Swetland, President, Donnelly College

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.

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.

HuffPost

The walls and shelves of Suzanne Wheeler’s home office in Shawnee, Kansas, are filled with awards and memorabilia from her 32 years in the Army. At the height of her career, she was in charge of plans, operations and training for the Kansas National Guard, responsible for 7,400 soldiers and airmen. She did combat tours in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and retired last year as a colonel.

Bill Anderson / KCUR 89.3

From Mexico to Montreal, the migration of the monarch butterfly is truly Odyssean in nature. Today, we visit with a Kansas City cyclist who is pedaling the butterflies' 10,000-mile voyage to raise awareness for their declining population. Then, we hear stories of America's deported veterans and learn how the practice is affecting the families and communities expelled service members leave behind.

Cowboy music is not the same as country-western. A talk with some of the musicians of 3 Trails West — one of the few practitioners of true cowboy music in Kansas City.

Plus: the legendary history of the "Big Red One" (1st Infantry Division). Based at Fort Riley, Kansas, it's the longest continuously-serving division in the United States Army ... and it recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Guests:

Claire Tadokoro / KCUR 89.3

There have been some hits and some misses during President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office. One thing everyone agrees on is there has been no shortage of surprises. Today, we hear from a distinguished panel of political observers; ABC News analyst Matthew Dowd, Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle, and Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer Colleen Nelson, of the Kansas City Star. They discuss the early days of the new executive administration.

Wikimedia Commons

The Vietnam War didn't end silently, it went out to the loud riffs of rock n' roll. Revisit the songs that shaped the 1960s and '70s, and captured the moods of soldiers overseas and civilians at home. We also find out how the electric guitar became the international symbol of freedom, danger and rebellion.

Daniel Wood / KCUR 89.3

As part of events marking  the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the city of Mission, Kansas, hosted a memorial at the Sylvester Powell Junior Community Center. About 70 local residents, including a number of veterans and current servicemen and women, attended. Among them, one of the last survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Dorwin Lamkin, a 94-year-old Shawnee resident,  was a hospital corpsman in the USS Nevada’s sickbay when the battleship was hit by a Japanese torpedo and started to sink.

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Great ideas may be hard to come by, but a new book has us thinking all that's needed is a change of scenery. We also remember the attack on Pearl Harbor, 75 years after it catapulted the nation into WWII. This week's Statehouse Blend Kansas features freshman Democrat Cindy Holscher.

The creator and editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.com talks about the challenges facing Muslim women in the wake of Donald Trump's election. Then we examine the soundtrack of the Vietnam War, and listen to some of the songs that helped American troops get through the conflict.

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