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.

Chelsea Donaldson of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center moderated a panel discussion on gender and gender expression in the military with veterans Pam Campos-Palma, Lindsay Church and Juliet Taylor.
Courtesy photo

Gender and expression can play a significant role in the careers of military personnel. The Connecticut Veterans Legal Center brought veterans from across the country together to shine a light on gender identity in the military. The diverse group of female and gender nonconforming veterans shared how their gender, or their expression of it, impacted their military careers.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signs a law on August 2, 2021, at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton that makes it easier for military spouses to get professional licenses.
Office of Governor Lamont

Many military service members get relocated to a new base every few years, causing headaches for military spouses with their own careers as they try to transfer their professional licenses. Some states, like Connecticut, are trying to streamline that process and ease the burden on working spouses.

Over her 28-year Army career, Brogan Farren worked as a helicopter pilot and military planner. She deployed to combat zones and flew peacekeeping missions. And when she retired three years ago, Farren found that when people in the civilian world met her, they sometimes had four very specific letters on their mind: PTSD.

“They all want to thank you for your service,” she said. “But then the next [unasked] question is, ‘Are you OK?’ Can I talk to you without you, you know, getting mad?’”

Dr. Karockas Watkins of the Huntsville/Madison Chamber of Commerce talks with the local board and staff of BancorpSouth in Hunstville, Alabama in 2020.
Photo courtesy Karockas Watkins

While the military has become more racially diverse, a recent survey found some Black and Hispanic service members don’t always feel welcome off base, in their civilian host communities. Some military communities have now taken steps to promote diversity and inclusion.

Many Afghans who aided U.S. troops now find themselves in a terrible limbo. They made it to America on special immigrant visas, but their extended families are still in Afghanistan — with no real way to escape.

“We don't have anything in hand for my brother from the Americans,” said Khyber, an special immigrant visa recipient who’s lived in San Antonio since 2017. “He’s really scared of the Taliban. He left his own province and hid himself with his family in another province.”