American Homefront

WSHU is proud to be a member of the American Homefront Project. The American Homefront Project reports on military life and veterans issues. We're visiting bases to chronicle how American troops are working and living. We're meeting military families. We're talking with veterans — in their homes, on their jobs, at school, at VA hospitals — to learn about their successes and their challenges.

Major support for the American Homefront Project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as part of CPB's ongoing effort to expand coverage of local, regional and national issues.

Children play along with Sesame Street cast members in the Reel Time Theater on Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, March 25, 2019. Parents took their kids to a live performance of the Sesame Street show.
Airman Jesse Jenny / U.S. Air Force

Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird and the rest of the Sesame Street muppets have been teaching kids their ABC’s and how to share their toys since 1969. But they also tackle difficult issues — like addition, same-sex marriage and the coronavirus pandemic — in a kid-friendly way.

Their newest project targets military families and how to talk about racism.

Six years after the Veterans Community Project started building tiny homes for homeless veterans in Kansas City, the idea is proving to be a big hit.

The nonprofit’s campus, with its tidy rows of tiny homes, looks like a miniature version of suburbia. And there are plans to expand — both in Kansas City and across the country.

For residents like Christopher Perry, the allure of independent living plays a big role in the organization’s success.

Sgt. Robert B. Brown with Regimental Combat Team 6 watches over the civilian firefighters at a burn pit in Fallujah, Iraq, on May 25, 2007. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
Cpl. Samuel D. Corum / Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

Retired Army Sgt. Rigoberto Rosario remembers black smoke that hung so thick in the air he couldn’t always tell if it was day or night.

“Picture yourself being buried alive and there’s no breathing — that’s the only way I can put it,” Rosario said. “Darkness in the daytime.”

When 28 year-old Ebony Rice became an Army drill sergeant in 2018, she adopted the leadership style that's often associated with the job: loud, demanding and hyper-focused on making sure recruits followed the rules and worked as a team.

“The environment that we’re in, we have to have that demeanor where we're tough and we're hard on them,” Rice said.

But during one basic training cycle, Rice got a wakeup call. One of her recruits was being sexually preyed upon by another soldier but didn’t feel safe telling Rice about it.

Before coming to San Diego in 2017, Ali Rasouly worked as a translator for the U.S. Marine Special Operations Command outside Kabul - a risky job that made him a target of the Taliban.

Though he left that job to take a safer one as an accountant with an American contractor in Afghanistan, he still felt threatened.

“On two occasions, two people came to me and said I know you from somewhere,” he said.

Rasouly denied being an interpreter for American forces, but was approached a second time.