veterans

Veterans Day 2014
8:36 am
Tue November 11, 2014

What's Open, What's Closed and What's Going on to Honor Veterans

Patricia Ray and Linda Palerma placed a flag by the war memorial in honor of their husband and father, respectively, who died in the Vietnam War. Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Today is Veterans Day, and with that in mind we've got a rundown of all the parades, speeches and other events to honor Central Texas veterans in Austin, Georgetown and San Marcos.

In addition, we've got the full list of city office closures as employees observe Veterans Day. Check out the full list of events and closures below.

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Austin Film Festival
5:35 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Special Operations Soldiers Share Their Stories of PTSD in New Documentary

Tyler Grey (center) shares his story of reintegration in "That Which I Love Destroys Me."
"That Which I Love Destroys Me"

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

Austin-based filmmaker Ric Roman Waugh got his start in the stunt business. His film credits include "Gone in 60 Seconds," "Total Recall," and "Hook." He then went on to work with tough guys including Val Kilmer and Dwayne Johnson as a director and screenwriter.

"That Which I Love Destroys Me" is Waugh's first documentary. It follows two special operations soldiers as they explore the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It screened at the Austin Film Festival.

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Life & Arts
5:41 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

PHOTOS: Exhibit at Bullock Museum Memorializes Texas' Fallen in Vietnam

Patriot Guard Riders walk under the bronze star in the the Bullock Texas State History Museum's plaza.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Yesterday, veterans of the Vietnam War came from around the state to commemorate the arrival of 3,417 dog tags at the Bullock Texas State History Museum for the forthcoming "Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit," which will honor Texans that perished in the war.

The procession of the tags paused under the museum's iconic bronze star and concluded in the lobby for a ceremonial presentation of an American flag to Linda Kaplon, the widow of fallen Vietnam serviceman Cpl. Phillip Felix Kaplon, Jr.

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Fourth of July
9:31 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Photos: ABIA Celebrates the Fourth of July with a Showcase of WWII Bombers

Celebrating Independence Day this year the B-17 Red Raiders will host rare vintage WWII aircraft plus a noted local WWII aviator.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The Texas Raiders have descended upon Austin. No, it's not a football team. It's the codename for a group of  B-17 pilots who have brought four renovated World War II-era planes to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The exhibition of rare planes including the P-51, a C-47 and a B-25. Tours and low-altitude flights over Austin are open to the public all weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.at Atlantic Aviation

Check out our gallery above for a view from KUT's flight on the "Flying Fortress."

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Texas
11:01 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Listen: Texas Veterans on ISIS and the Future of Iraq

Members of the 1st Air Cavalry on patrol near Taji, Iraq.
U.S. Army, flickr.com/soldiersmediacenter

Last week, the Obama administration announced their response to the unraveling situation in Iraq. The U.S. is sending 300 military advisors to help government forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. The Al-Qaeda augmented militants have recently taken control of much of northern Iraq. 

The White House has not ruled out air strikes, and the possibility of further military action is the talk of Washington. But what about the men and women who served in Iraq? The Texas Standard's David Brown recently sat down with three veterans for a roundtable discussion of recent events.

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Medical Marijuana
12:08 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Why Veterans Could Influence Texas Medical Marijuana Laws

A story in Texas Monthly's June issue poses the question: Can Texas veterans change the minds of state lawmakers against legalizing medical marijuana?
flickr.com/eggrole

Can more than 1.5 million Texas veterans change the minds of state lawmakers opposed to legalizing medical marijuana?

William Martin, director of the Drug Policy Program at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, poses that question in the June issue of Texas Monthly. In his article “War Without End,” Martin talks with veterans using pot to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

"The story that’s most illustrative is a woman who uses the name Myst," Martin says. 

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Veterans Affairs
10:52 am
Fri May 30, 2014

VA Chief Eric Shinseki Resigns Post, Obama Announces

Eric Shinseki resigned as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday, in what President Obama said was a decision spurred by a desire to not distract from efforts to fix the agency's problems. Earlier Friday, Shinseki spoke at a conference in Washington.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 12:10 pm

Embattled Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned his position, hours after saying he would work to fix "systemic" problems in the VA's health care system.

President Obama said Friday that the decision was made so Shinseki wouldn't be a "distraction" from efforts to address the agency's wide-ranging problems.

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Veteran Affairs
1:51 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Report Finds Evidence Of Secret Wait Lists At VA Hospital

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Phoenix, where the VA's inspector general says numerous problems with scheduling practices were uncovered.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 1:12 pm

The inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs has affirmed that some 1,700 patients at the Phoenix VA hospital were put on unofficial wait lists and subjected to treatment delays of up to 115 days.

In an interim report released Wednesday, the inspector general's office reported it had "substantiated that significant delays in access to care negatively impacted the quality of care" at Phoenix HCS.

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Veterans Affairs
1:24 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Central Texas Courts Help Veterans Tested by War Stay Out of Jail

Donnie Hilliard starts the Travis County Veteran's Court Program on May 15, 2014.
Jon Shapley for KUT News

Across the country and here in Texas, counties have been setting up special courts specifically for veterans in recent years.

Those veterans that go through the court have to stick with a series of commitments to avoid jail time.

Travis County has had a veterans court since 2010. Two more Central Texas counties will open their own courts in the coming months.

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Veteran Affairs
5:47 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Texas Hearing to Address Claims of Doctored Wait Times at VA Clinics

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, hosted a press conference on allegations of manipulated wait times at VA clinics in Austin and San Antonio.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

On the heels of allegations that VA clinics across the country manipulated wait times, a state senate hearing will ask veterans whether they've struggled to get a timely doctor’s appointment.

Lieutenant Governor candidate and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, says she’s especially troubled by allegations of misrepresented wait times at clinics in San Antonio and Austin. The chair of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee, Van de Putte says an independent investigation should take place.

"People responsible need to be held accountable," she says. "These scheduling clerks didn’t just decide to falsify reports all over the country at the same time."

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Mental Health
1:13 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Fighting Stigma of Mental Illness Goal of New Texas Nonprofit

Despite money put towards mental health care in Texas last legislative session, Texas ranks near the bottom in spending per capita on mental health. A new mental health policy nonprofit in Texas will work to identify ways to improve access to services.
Liang Shi for KUT News

Improving mental health practices for Texas and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness is the goal of a new statewide institute. Its focus will be on children, veterans and criminal justice policies.

The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute opened its doors today. Tom Luce, its chief executive officer, says the nonprofit will do research to improve access to mental health care in Texas – and not just after emergencies like the recent Fort Hood shooting.

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Texas
1:13 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Study: Texas Cities Lead the Nation For Careers After Military

Participants in today’s Veteran’s Day ceremony at the Texas Capitol. Houston, Dallas and Austin are three of the top five cities for veteran employment according to a new study.
Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

new study reported by the military news outlet Stars and Stripes ranks Houston as the number one city in the country for job-seeking veterans. Dallas and Austin rank second and fifth among major metropolitan cities.

The rankings, put together by the USAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are the sunnier side of an issue affecting many veterans: finding employment after service ends. 

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Veterans Day
11:56 am
Mon November 11, 2013

America's Oldest Veteran Richard Overton Gets Standing Ovation from Obama

Richard Overton, the oldest living veteran of World War II, receives a standing ovation after U.S. President Barack Obama paid tribute to him today during a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
Reuters /Kevin Lamarque /Landov

America’s oldest living World War II veteran lives in Austin. And today, he was the guest of honor for a very notable host: President Barack Obama.

Today wasn’t the first time 107-year-old Richard Overton made the trek to Washington D.C. For this May’s Armed Forces Day, Overton was part of an Honor Flight to the nation’s capital. Nonprofit group Honor Flight Austin flies World War II veterans to D.C. to show them the national memorial built in their honor.

As USA Today reports, when Overton visited the capital this spring, he expressed a wish to meet President Barack Obama. “The president was out of town that day,” the paper writes, but Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s office facilitated a return visit to D.C. this weekend. And this time, Overton’s request came true.

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Veterans Day
8:47 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Veterans Day 2013: What's Open, What's Closed and What's Going On

Most city offices are closed Monday for Veterans Day.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Veterans Day Parade:

Travis County and the City of Austin are holding the annual Veterans Day Parade on Monday to honor service men and women.

The Grand Marshal of this year’s commemoration and parade is Austinite Richard Arvine Overton, who, at age 107, is the oldest living World War II veteran in the United States.

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Veterans Day
7:33 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Texas Veterans Stepping Up to Fill Boots of Aging Agricultural Workers

Yvonne Martinez-Higgins and her husband William have put together a business plan and a logo for their family farm. But they admit they've found the process slow and difficult.
William Higgins and Yvonne Martinez-Higgins

Agriculture is big business in Texas. Statewide, it has a $100 billion dollar economic impact.

But the industry may be at risk. The average age of a Texas farmer or rancher is 59. And fewer young people are taking over the labor-intensive work.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has set up a program to assist aging agricultural workers in Texas. They’ve also identified a population that may be well-suited for taking over the work – veterans.

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Veterans
9:00 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Interactive: Hearing on Prescription Drug Epidemic Among U.S. Veterans

A new report says that U.S. veterans are more likely to be prescribed addictive, and potentially lethal, opiates after returning home.
KUT News

According to a new report, the number of prescriptions veterans received for powerful opiates has surged since the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Central Texas veterans' prescriptions have jumped by nearly 340 percent, leading to increased risk of abuse, drug overdose and death, according to a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the agency charged with helping veterans recover from war [the Department of Veterans Affairs]instead masks their pain with potent drugs, feeding addictions and contributing to a fatal overdose rate among VA patients that is nearly double the national average.

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Veterans
9:28 am
Fri October 4, 2013

America's Oldest Veteran Lives in Austin. What Happened to Him Yesterday Will Make You Smile

107-year-old Richard Overton relaxes on his front lawn. Yesterday, dozens of volunteers fixed the East Austin home Overton’s lived in since 1945.
Mark Gwin for KUT News

A diverse group of volunteers braved the heat Thursday to upgrade the residence of 107-year-old World War II veteran Richard Overton – the country’s oldest living World War II veteran.

The East Austin house has been Overton's home since he built it in 1945, when he returned from war. And though he’s done some upgrades over the years, it was beginning to have some serious issues: broken windows, a failing refrigerator and more.

But then a team of several dozen volunteers came to fix it all.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument
11:55 am
Mon September 23, 2013

South Vietnamese Figure Removed from Texas' Vietnam War Memorial

Members of the Vietnamese community outside the Texas State Preservation Board hearing inside the Texas Capitol.
Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

The Texas State Preservation Board voted Friday to move forward with a proposed Vietnam War veterans' monument at the Texas Capitol. The final design features American combat troops – and not a South Vietnamese solider as initially proposed.

In 2005, the Texas Legislature authorized a Vietnam War memorial for the Texas Capitol grounds. The proposed design featured several combat-weary soldiers – one of them a South Vietnamese solider. But the backers of the memorial, the Texas Capitol Vietnam Monument Committee, chose to remove that figure. The preservation board approved the final design Friday. 

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Health
8:53 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Austin's New Outpatient VA Clinic is the Largest in the Country

Austin's new VA Clinic is the largest freestanding clinic in the U.S.
Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System

Austin’s new VA clinic opened this week, becoming the largest free-standing VA outpatient clinic in the U.S. The new, state-of-the-art clinic will to help accommodate Central Texas’s fast growing veteran population across 39 counties.

The clinic currently serves 23,000 veterans. The VA hopes to increase that number to 30,000 by 2025 with the expanded facilities, according to Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System spokeswoman Deborah Meyer.

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Education
12:43 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Military Service for College Credit? Texas Plan Gets $1.5 Million Boost

Texas veterans are being offered expanded advantages to attend college.
flickr.com/bright_idea

The Texas Workforce Commission is awarding Austin Community College over $90,000 as part of its College Credit for Heroes program.

ACC is one of six colleges joining the program, which is designed to translate veterans’ military experience into college credit hours.

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