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Back At Base

KPBS is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. It's part of a joint effort with NPR and six other public radio stations around the country.

Veterans Choice Medical Program Troubled From Start

San Diego veteran describes her struggles using the system

The VA program was started in 2014 to curb wait times by letting veterans see a doctor outside the system, but it failed. A San Diego veteran and others describe the problems with Choice.

Despite $10B 'Fix,' Veterans Are Waiting Even Longer To See Doctors

A $10 billion program to eliminate long wait times and other problems for veterans' health care hasn't worked out as planned. More veterans wait even longer for care now than they did a year ago.

VA Seeks To Aid Veterans Behind Bars

Program helps San Diego veteran turn life around

One local Marine is looking to the VA to help turn his life around, after a stint in the county jail.

New National Guard Cyber Units May Help Retain Troops

As the Pentagon gives the Guard a new mission to defend government systems from cyberattacks, the Guard hopes these new units will help keep troops with IT skills from leaving the service.

Follow The Leader: Drones Learn To Behave In Swarms

Unmanned aerial vehicles can sound like a swarm of bees with a relentless buzzing noise. Now, drones can act like one as dozens are programmed to soar and work together.

National Guard Seeks More Drones For Domestic Missions

A dozen Guard units now pilot drones for missions here and abroad. Some are lobbying for increased use of the unmanned aircraft in the U.S., but critics have raised privacy concerns.

Women Make History At Camp Pendleton, Train For Combat Roles

The yearlong experiment to determine whether women can serve in ground combat is wrapping up. "I think for the males they kind of expected us to be ... the moms, the sisters — kind of take care of us. But now they’re like, ‘OK, we’re a Marine, you’re a Marine. Let’s just get the job done,’" said Marine Sgt. Zarina Flemming.

On The California Shore, Sizing Up Female Marines' Combat Readiness

The Marines are conducting a yearlong experiment aimed at settling whether women can handle the punishing world of ground combat. The goal is to create gender-neutral physical standards.

National Guard Seeks New Mission After War

Indiana's National Guard is fighting to stay relevant after the base has quieted dramatically now that troops have come home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Building Civilian Career Is Challenge For National Guard Members

Building a career is no easy task for those in the National Guard who have to balance their commitments to a civilian job and their military training.

Can Female Marines Carry The Load And Kill The Enemy?

Marines have to carry a pack that weights more than 100 pounds. For some of the women training in the Mojave Desert to join combat units, that nearly matches their body weight.

In Intense Desert Training, A Dozen Women Fight For Place On Front Lines

The Marines are being tested in California's Mojave Desert to see if they have what it takes to serve in infantry units. Injuries in earlier training kept another dozen women from getting that far.

Wounded Warriors Helped At San Diego VA By Fellow Amputees

Hundreds of military members lost arms and legs during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Amputees who come to the prosthetic department at the San Diego VA Medical Center find a special connection to those providing their care.

Veterans Choice Act Fails To Ease Travel Burdens For Vets In Need Of Care

Last year, Congress tried to make getting care for vets easier by giving them the option of going outside of VA facilities. Seems pretty simple, but making that rule work hasn't been all that easy.

Aspire Center For Veterans Celebrates One Year Anniversary

Tuesday was a significant milestone for San Diego's first and only residential treatment center for young veterans suffering from brain injury and post-traumatic stress.

Camp Pendleton Tests Ability To Deploy 50,000 Troops

Some 1,700 Marines and sailors are participating in the training at the Camp Pendleton that will prepare military leaders for how to execute such a large operation should they be called to do so.

Combat Training: Can Female Marines Get The Job Done?

The Marine Corps have begun a year-long experiment to decide if women can enter ground combat. Hundreds of men and women began training a few weeks ago at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Women Sweat The Test To Show Marines They're Combat-Ready

The Marine Corps is running a test to see if women can serve in ground combat. "A lot of people think that we can't do it," says one Marine who's trying to make the cut. "I don't think the same."

10 Years Later, Camp Pendleton Marines Remember The Battle For Fallujah

Hundreds of Iraq War veterans are gathering Friday morning at Camp Pendleton to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the second Battle for Fallujah. This was the fiercest combat of the Iraq war and the deadliest urban battle for the Marines since Vietnam.

Navy, Marines Team Up At Camp Pendleton For Disaster Response Training

The Navy and Marines have teamed up at Camp Pendleton, on land and out at sea, for global crisis training. They're testing a new ship that could be a game-changer the next time troops are called for humanitarian assistance.