military

DJ Leln / via Flickr

Some of the hand-me-down gear the Syracuse police force has received from the Pentagon is harmless - and in fact pretty useful: First aid kits, 40 pairs of long johns, 50 pairs of winter boots, even electrical tape and bungee cords.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

There’s a special place at Syracuse’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center for female military veterans.

The Syracuse VA has been offering a Women Veterans Wellness Center for over a decade now. The number of female veterans they see in that time has tripled, so earlier this year, they moved into a brand new suite on the hospital’s ninth floor.

A fireplace and serene furnishings offer a kind of spa-like environment for women needing a wide range of care from mental health consultations to gynecological exams.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s proposal to change the way the military deals with sexual assault cases could come up for another vote in this month’s lame duck congressional session.

Gillibrand (D-NY) fell five votes short last spring of getting a bill passed that would overhaul military sexual-assault policies. But she says she wants to bring it up again, attaching it to a military authorization bill that has to be approved by the end of the year.  

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York’s senior senator wants members of the military screened for mental health problems more often in an effort to stem the military’s high suicide rate.

Right now, members of the armed services are screened for mental health problems before and immediately after deployment to combat zones.

"The screenings are better than nothing and they’re an important component in the military’s efforts to lower the suicide rate," Sen. Charles Schumer said. "But it’s not enough, and it fails to address some of the mental health issues in a large group of members."

Yi Chen

This week, we bring you Breaking Ground: Military Children. During more than a decade of war, tens of thousands of military children have watched and waited as a parent was deployed to conflict zones overseas. 

Now, with the Department of Defense confronting budget cuts, these children face an uncertain future. What will they do if the military chooses to shut down their schools? Will they have the support they need as their parents reintegrate into civilian life? What can we learn from these children, and what duty do we as a society owe them? 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The images coming from Ferguson, Missouri, of police in riot gear facing protesters has some in Congress calling for changes to the way local police agencies are able to use cast off military equipment from the Department of Defense.

The two candidates for the 24th Congressional District seat, which covers all of Onondaga, Cayuga and Wayne counties and the western half of Oswego County, have two different views of that.

Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei has already voted against the program that provides surplus military equipment to law enforcement agencies.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Today is Purple Heart Day -- the annual, nationwide commemoration of the thousands of American soldiers either killed or wounded while serving in the military who have received the medal. And it is an extra special day for one central New Yorker.

Dan Hunnicutt is an acting chaplain in Oswego County who runs a ministry with his family meant to help veterans. He often wears his medals when he goes to meet troubled vets as a kind of conversation starter. He now has a new one to share.

Joanna Richards / WRVO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says in the next few months she is going to revive her military sexual assault bill, which changes how those types of crimes are prosecuted by the military. The legislation failed last month following a filibuster.

Gillibrand says her bill, which would allow military prosecutors to handle sexual assault cases instead of officers in the regular chain of command, still has the support of 55 senators, including Republicans.

Schumer vows to fight troop reduction at Fort Drum

Mar 20, 2014
David Sommerstein / NCPR

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer says he’s not afraid to use his political might to protect Fort Drum from cuts to the military budget. Schumer held a press conference at Watertown City Hall Wednesday as the Pentagon prepares to axe up to 100,000 Army troops.

The possibility of an Army downsizing to 1940s levels is fraying nerves in military communities nationwide. But on Monday, concern deepened. The Army circulated a sort of worst-case scenario report – and it included assessing the loss of nearly 90 percent of the troops stationed at Fort Drum.

Joanna Richards / WRVO

After a year of lobbying her colleagues, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to change how the Pentagon handles sexual assault cases was rejected by the Senate.

Gillibrand isn't looking at her legislation's defeat as a failure, just a temporary setback in her effort to remove sexual assault cases from the military chain of command. Although 55 senators supported it, that wasn't enough to overcome a bipartisan filibuster.

Gillibrand says her work isn’t over.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is on a personal crusade to change the military culture that’s allowed sexual assaults to go unpunished, and is attempting to push a bill through the Senate.

Gillibrand remembers when the issue of sexual assaults in the military really got on her radar. It was while watching a 2012 documentary called The Invisible War.

Joanna Richards / WRVO

Since Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel detailed his proposal for deep military cutbacks Monday, officials in Watertown have been trying to divine what that could mean for Fort Drum. They believe the Army post is well-positioned – but that doesn’t mean it won’t take a hit.

The military is already in downsizing mode as the war in Afghanistan winds down. But Hagel’s plan calls for deeper cuts, including shrinking the Army to its smallest size since before World War II.

Army officers anxious as they await word of cuts

Feb 20, 2014
Joanna Richards

In any company town, when the major employer is planning layoffs, people get worried. How will they earn a living if they lose their job? How will they remake their identity?

This is the picture for many Army officers stationed at Fort Drum. By early summer, some will find out they have to go.

It’s part of an overall downsizing of the military as the war in Afghanistan winds down. Evaluations this spring will determine whether some officers can stay in the service.

Joanna Richards

The Defense Department has named Fort Drum as one of four military installations to house a possible East Coast missile defense facility. 

Joanna Richards

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been pushing hard to reform the way the military handles sexual assaults. Her proposal was dropped once, but she’s hopeful it will come up for a vote again and succeed. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is continuing her fight to crack down on sexual assaults in the military in 2014.

The junior senator from New York has been a vocal critic of the way the military deals with sexual assault cases. She points to statistics that showed instances of unwanted sexual contact in the military in 2012 went up by 7,000 compared to two years earlier.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Fifth and sixth graders at Granby Elementary School in Fulton got the chance to meet and ask questions to several current and former service members Monday morning, during the school's "Take a Vet to School Day" event. Members of the Army and Navy gave students a look into their lives in the military, including what they did overseas, where they've been stationed, and in one case, what their favorite gun is to shoot.
 

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

A small crowd gathered at Oswego's Veterans Memorial Park earlier today for a Veterans Day flag lowering ceremony and memorial dedication for members of the military lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The cold, rainy weather did not stop veterans and their families from attending the event, where the national, state and POW/MIA flags were lowered, folded and given to Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen for safe keeping through the winter months. The flags will be raised again on Memorial Day.

The mass shooting at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard earlier this month prompted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to call for security reviews at all military facilities. Fort Drum declined to comment on how the post is being affected by that decision, but this week the Department of Defense gave details about how the larger review process would take shape.
 

On air: health care for veterans & the military

Sep 19, 2013

This health forum broadcast on WRVO Sunday, November 17 at 7 p.m.

Sequester may mean more cutbacks at Fort Drum

Sep 18, 2013
WRVO file photo

Fort Drum may be facing personnel cutbacks as a result of the federal budget reductions known as sequestration. The post submitted recommendations to the Department of the Army about how it would want to make the cuts, if needed.  

Fort Drum

A former 10th Mountain Division soldier will receive the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during a 2009 battle in Afghanistan. 

Maffei, Owens talk about upcoming Syria vote

Sep 5, 2013
Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

While Congress prepares to vote on whether or not to take military action against Syria, two local members of Congress are still considering all the facts. Syracuse-area Democrat Dan Maffei says he is looking at the big picture, but says he still has questions that need to be answered, including how it will impact American service members.

As Congress begins to debate a resolution to authorize United States military action in Syria, members of the New York congressional delegation are expressing their opinion publicly about what should be done.

Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican who represents parts of the Finger Lakes and Souther Tier regions, has been conducting a listening tour in his district to gather opinions from his constituents.

Joanna Richards/WRVO

When the Army announced earlier this week that Fort Drum would lose 1,500 soldiers as part of a plan to reduce troops across the force, north country community leaders started trying to figure out what the impact would be.

They seem to agree that Fort Drum escaped this round of personnel cuts relatively unscathed.

Fort Drum to lose 1,500 troops under Army plan

Jun 25, 2013
NCPR File Photo

The Army announced Tuesday that Fort Drum will lose about 1,500 soldiers over the next four years as part of an overall reduction in troops across the Army. 

The Army had said the post could lose as many as 8,000 soldiers – or gain as many as 3,000 – under the planned troop reduction and reorganization as the Afghanistan war winds down.

Democratic Congressman Bill Owens, of Plattsburgh, said the news of the 1,500-soldier loss gave him a sense of relief, since the cuts could have been much deeper.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The post office in Baldwinsville is now named for a fallen Marine born and raised in the town. On Monday, a ceremony was held to dedicate the building.

U.S. Army

The U.S. military is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government. But it also has a tremendous resource for generating its own energy: all the land bases sit on.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced yesterday that in line with the repeal of the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, some spousal benefits will be given to same-sex service members and their partners. The federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act still prohibits many of the major spousal benefits, like housing and health care, from being extended to same-sex couples. But Panetta's announcement still had advocates for gay service members cheering.   

Joanna Richards

Speaking to soldiers about firearms, no matter what their individual views are on gun control, one thing becomes clear: they take them seriously.

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