military

When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who has already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

Kara Dethlefsen lined up early on a recent morning for the food pantry at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base near San Diego. She and her husband, both active-duty Marines, took turns holding their 4-month-old daughter.

"We most like to get the avocados, lemons, some vegetables to cook up," says Dethlefsen, 27, who first heard about the pantry from an on-base nurse after giving birth.

While the political world continues to focus on the machinations of congressional investigations about Russia (which won't have conclusions drawn for months, if not longer) and where health care goes from here, there's another, arguably more important story going on — ramped-up military engagement.

Here's the New York Times Thursday:

In the kitchen of a vacation rental in southern California, family pictures form a collage on the refrigerator.

On closer inspection the photos are of multiple families, and many of the women in the photos are sitting together around the kitchen table nearby. The photos are from their weddings or pictures of children. This is a typical, makeshift family scrapbook at an American Widow Project retreat.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter says the military is lifting a ban on transgender service members.

"Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender," he told reporters today at the Pentagon.

The fundamental reason for the change, Carter said, is "that the Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now – the finest fighting force the world has ever known."

Recent government sanctions against predatory for-profit colleges that preyed on veterans by using inflated job promises have opened the window on the wider challenges of helping veterans transition from service to higher education.

One week after Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced women in the U.S. military can serve in any combat role, a federal appeals court is considering a lawsuit from a men's group that says a male-only draft is unconstitutional.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, a majority of young Americans support sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS, according to a wide-ranging new poll from the Harvard Institute of Politics.

The institute has asked millennials about the idea of American boots on the ground at three different times this year, and the survey results have fluctuated somewhat, but there seems to be a "hardening of support."

"Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army" - by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway, army.mil, Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE: Two Army pilots are dead after a helicopter crash  during a training mission near Fort Campbell.

Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO)

 Lone Oak residents Alan and Bobbie Wilson's daughter, Hannah, serves the nation aboard the U.S. Navy warship, the USS George Washington, which is stationed at the base located 35 miles south of Tokyo in Yokosuka, Japan. The ship is longer than three football fields and one of only 10 currently operational aircraft carriers in the Navy. A 2008 graduate of Lone Oak School, AO3 Hannah Wilson says she stopped playing varsity tennis after her first two years to focus on enriched and AP studies, a passion for learning she continues today as we learn in our conversation with Kate Lochte on Sounds Good.

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