This week, NPR reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to live up to a promise to contact 4,000 veterans who were exposed to mustard gas in secret military experiments. In 1993, the VA promised it would reach out to each of those veterans to let them know that they were eligible for disability benefits. Instead, over the past 20 years, the VA reached out to only 610.

When former Mother Jones reporter Mac McClelland was diagnosed with PTSD after witnessing another woman’s horror at being brutally assaulted in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, she didn’t believe it. After all, it was the Haitian who was assaulted, not her.

A lot of readers agreed after McClelland wrote an essay about her diagnosis in 2011. They were outraged that the 32-year-old journalist should be seen as a victim.

Maj. Gen. Myles Deering

The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs plans to expand mental health services, improve its seven long-term care facilities and increase educational and employment opportunities for veterans, the state’s new Secretary for Veterans Affairs said this week.

Ret. General Myles Deering said Thursday he would identify “as many veterans as possible” in Oklahoma and develop new programs to provide better health care, support and employment opportunities.

“I want to leave this agency in better shape than I found it,” Deering said.

Veterans groups continue to criticize U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) for objecting to a bill intended to reduce a suicide among military veterans.

Coburn defended his actions on the floor of the chamber, saying the bill would not accomplish its stated goal and duplicates programs that already exist.

The Ardmore Veterans Center, one of seven long-term care facilities for wartime veterans. Each center will be opened to peace-time veterans beginning Nov. 1.
Oklahoma Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Administrators from the state’s seven veterans centers spoke to lawmakers Tuesday about the facilities’ needs and for replacement of antiquated infrastructure.

Comments were made during an interim study evaluating Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs facilities at the State Capitol before the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Public Health. Interim Study H14-036 was requested by House Veterans and Military Affairs Committee Chair Gary Banz, R-Midwest City.

House Panel Hears About Veteran Suicides

Oct 16, 2014

Oklahoma Mental Health Commissioner Terri White outlined veterans suicide statistics for a house panel Tuesday. White says nearly one in four suicides in Oklahoma involved a veteran in 2011. 

White pointed to a program operated by the U.S. Air Force which significantly reduced suicides among the military, offering prove that suicide prevention efforts work. The Department of Mental Health plans to seek an additional one million dollar appropriation next year to implement suicide prevention programs. 

Look At This: Portrait Of A Homeless Veteran

Sep 19, 2014

A few weeks ago, photographer David Gilkey and I went to an event for homeless veterans called Stand Down. We wanted to see what homeless veterans look like, and we wanted to photograph them.

We also wondered: How do they see themselves? We asked about 20 of them — that's how many came by our pop-up portrait studio. You can hear from some of them in the audio above, or just look at this.

WWI Poet's Diaries Now Online

Aug 5, 2014

As Britain marks the 100th anniversary of its entry into World War I, the notebooks of one of the country’s most famous war poets are being published for the first time.

Siegfried Sassoon served on the Western Front and he recorded his experiences in small diaries that are filled with sketches and anecdotes that express the horrors of World War I, the so-called Great War.

The Ardmore Veterans Center, one of seven long-term care facilities for wartime veterans. Each center will be opened to peace-time veterans beginning Nov. 1.
Oklahoma Dept. of Veterans Affairs

State Rep. and gubernatorial nominee Joe Dorman wants to examine the quality of care for veterans in Oklahoma.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman approved the interim legislative study by the Rush Springs Democrat and three other bipartisan co-sponsors.

Dorman says state budget cuts and the potential loss of federal matching funds will be key to this fall's study. He plans to ask for testimony from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.

Medill DC / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Sen Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says a new report will expose more weaknesses at Veterans Affairs Department hospitals, including disappearing doctors and staff members.