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U.S. Military

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Politicians from both parties in Kansas and Missouri have voiced their support of President Donald Trump's decision to launch airstrikes in Syria Friday night. The bombings targeted chemical weapons research and storage facilities after a recent suspected chemical attack on civilians in Syria.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, commended the president for responding quickly to the suspected chemical attack.

"I support this effort and believe the president has the full authority to take these actions," Blunt said in a written statement

Claire Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Why global warming may be our military’s biggest threat.

While climate change may harm food production and lead to more intense wildfires, it also poses a hazard to our military. How can our armed forces respond? Today, we asked former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, who was director of the Marine Corps War College, to shed light on how our nation's military leadership is changing its approach to environmental issues.

File Photo / Luke X. Martin KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Why female voices are often overlooked by military historians.

Women make up approximately 15 percent of the military, but they still face obstacles different from their male counterparts. Today, we explored the history of women in the military, including the challenges American female service members have faced in recent years.

Jon Demlar

Francis Sommer had planned a vacation to Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain to visit an Army buddy. The friendship arose from a particularly fraught 2006 deployment to Afghanistan, and the two looked forward to reconnecting in a peaceful, beautiful place.

But it was Robert Sommer, Francis’ father, who spent the day with the friend.

Francis was killed in 2011.

Chr. Barthelmess / Library of Congress

Anyone who has even a hazy memory of Bob Marley's song "Buffalo Soldier" knows the broad historical brush strokes of the African-American soldiers.

"Stolen from Africa, brought to America," the song goes. "Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival."

The full history is more complicated.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

Today, Stuart Swetland is the president of Donnelly College, which U.S. News & World Report recently recognized as the most diverse college in the Midwest. But in 1985, when TWA Flight 847 was hijacked, he was a Navy officer who was called to participate in a rescue mission with grim chances for survival. Hear his story.

Guest:

  • Stuart Swetland, President, Donnelly College

Lane Pearman / Flickr - CC

Kansas doesn't usually rank high as an outdoor destination state. But, while there are no grand canyons, snowcapped peaks, or white sand beaches, it does have a subtle character all its own. Today, we meet two sisters-in-law who made a mission of visiting every state park in Kansas. They say outdoorsy-types might be giving the Sunflower State the short shrift. Then, only about 1 percent of Americans currently serve in the armed forces. While some see this as evidence of progress, others think it's a problem.

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During the Vietnam War, military conflict in Southeast Asia aggravated flaring social issues back home. Today, we discuss how activism during the war advanced the fight for civil rights on many fronts, and how mass protests then compare to today's resistance movements. Then, renowned biographer Walter Issacson takes us into the mind of Leonardo da Vinci.

HuffPost

The walls and shelves of Suzanne Wheeler’s home office in Shawnee, Kansas, are filled with awards and memorabilia from her 32 years in the Army. At the height of her career, she was in charge of plans, operations and training for the Kansas National Guard, responsible for 7,400 soldiers and airmen. She did combat tours in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and retired last year as a colonel.

Bill Anderson / KCUR 89.3

From Mexico to Montreal, the migration of the monarch butterfly is truly Odyssean in nature. Today, we visit with a Kansas City cyclist who is pedaling the butterflies' 10,000-mile voyage to raise awareness for their declining population. Then, we hear stories of America's deported veterans and learn how the practice is affecting the families and communities expelled service members leave behind.

Cowboy music is not the same as country-western. A talk with some of the musicians of 3 Trails West — one of the few practitioners of true cowboy music in Kansas City.

Plus: the legendary history of the "Big Red One" (1st Infantry Division). Based at Fort Riley, Kansas, it's the longest continuously-serving division in the United States Army ... and it recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Guests:

Claire Tadokoro / KCUR 89.3

There have been some hits and some misses during President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office. One thing everyone agrees on is there has been no shortage of surprises. Today, we hear from a distinguished panel of political observers; ABC News analyst Matthew Dowd, Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle, and Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer Colleen Nelson, of the Kansas City Star. They discuss the early days of the new executive administration.

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The Vietnam War didn't end silently, it went out to the loud riffs of rock n' roll. Revisit the songs that shaped the 1960s and '70s, and captured the moods of soldiers overseas and civilians at home. We also find out how the electric guitar became the international symbol of freedom, danger and rebellion.

Daniel Wood / KCUR 89.3

As part of events marking  the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the city of Mission, Kansas, hosted a memorial at the Sylvester Powell Junior Community Center. About 70 local residents, including a number of veterans and current servicemen and women, attended. Among them, one of the last survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Dorwin Lamkin, a 94-year-old Shawnee resident,  was a hospital corpsman in the USS Nevada’s sickbay when the battleship was hit by a Japanese torpedo and started to sink.

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Great ideas may be hard to come by, but a new book has us thinking all that's needed is a change of scenery. We also remember the attack on Pearl Harbor, 75 years after it catapulted the nation into WWII. This week's Statehouse Blend Kansas features freshman Democrat Cindy Holscher.

The creator and editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.com talks about the challenges facing Muslim women in the wake of Donald Trump's election. Then we examine the soundtrack of the Vietnam War, and listen to some of the songs that helped American troops get through the conflict.

KU Ranked One Of The Best Schools For Veterans

Nov 11, 2016
Courtesy University of Kansas

 

For the second year in a row, the University of Kansas has been ranked as a top-10 best school in the country for veterans by the Military Times in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings.

In conjunction with NPR's A Nation Engaged project, Native people answer the question, "What it means to you be an American now." Then, we find out why George Washington may not have agreed with the United State's role as policeman to the world. Finally, President of the Kansas Senate, Susan Wagle, gives us the inside story about what's going on with that state's tax revenues.

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The Kansas Board of Regents has appointed retired U.S. Air Force General and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers as the interim president at Kansas State University.

Myers will take over from Kirk Schulz, who leaves next month for a job at Washington State University.

Suzanne Opton / The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

In the photograph, a young soldier with a downy blond buzz-cut lies perfectly still, face down on the ground. On stage, an ancient Greek warrior goes through the four stages of events that lead to post-traumatic stress.

The arts community is asking big questions about the life of the soldier. What role does art play in public discourse around combat?

Guests: 

Inside a plywood shack at a combat outpost in Marjah, in Afghanistan's Helmand province, three Marines sit before a bank of computers provided by the military to help keep up morale. The dingy outpost is made up of a collection of tents where troops live among swarms of flies and the constant hum of generators.

There's some soul-searching going on in the military these days.

The latest scandal to hit U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan surfaced last week when The Los Angeles Times published photographs showing smiling American soldiers holding up body parts of a Taliban suicide bomber.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta addressed the latest incident during a trip to Brussels.

"That behavior that was depicted in those photos absolutely violates both our regulations and, more importantly, our core values," he said last week after a NATO meeting.

The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC has written a new book called Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. It's about how we've been living in a state of perpetual war, and how war has become more secretive and the public more disconnected from it.

A U.S. Marine sergeant who posted "contemptuous" comments and images about President Obama on the Web should be dismissed and given an other-than-honorable discharge, a Marine Corps administrative board recommended late Thursday evening.

The case against Sgt. Gary Stein, 26, has raised questions about how far the military can go to restrict the First Amendment rights of its personnel.

Some pieces of journalism have the ability to disrupt even the most powerful of leaders.

Donald Rumsfeld has served as both the youngest and oldest Secretary of Defense.  While many may not remember much of his first stint at the post, his second go at the job, for better or worse, secured his place in history.