Public Domain / Wikimedia

The Japanese surrender in WWII was official with the signing of the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, 1945. But for Jerry Yellin, the war ended with his last combat mission on August 14th, the same day his wing man, 19-year-old Phil Schlamberg from Brooklyn New York disappeared over Japan.

Yellin, who now lives in Fairfield was a Captain in the Army Air Corps and a fighter pilot who flew a P-51. He says he was never wounded and claims he never thought he would die, but he's still haunted by the deaths of every one of the 16 men lost from his squadron of 32. 

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

In her first speech on the Senate floor, Joni Ernst proposed the "Prioritizing Veterans' Access to Mental Health Care Act." It would allow veterans to immediately access mental health care from outside the VA if they have significant barriers to care through the agency.

Emily Woodbury

March is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) awareness month. TBI has been called a silent epidemic. In many cases, resulting injuries are not visible to others, and it affects more than 95,000 Iowans.

Back from War, On to the Farm

Feb 26, 2015
John Wendle/for Harvest Public Media

Veteran Sara Creech has grown dependent on farming.

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

For Veterans Day, join host Ben Kieffer as he travels to Washington D.C. with more than 80 Iowa veterans.

Iowa State University

Diane Rasmussen, who lives in Omaha, can't make impromptu trips to Arlington, Virginia, where her son Deric is buried. Now, if she wants to feel close to him, she can visit Gold Star Hall in ISU's Memorial Union.

Home Base Iowa Update

Aug 12, 2014
Submitted photo

    Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill in May designed to provide more benefits for Iowa's military veterans. At the same time, companies and communities have pledged to make Iowa veteran friendly by offering incentives to live and work here.  It's hoped that those who have completed their service or have left the military as the result of downsizing by the Department of the Defense will find a new "home base"  : Iowa.

Wikimedia Commons

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki has resigned his post in the wake of a series of scandals at Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country. During this News Buzz edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Des Moines Register Health Care Reporter Tony Leys about how the announcement could affect Iowa's VA hospitals. He also tells us about a possibly mismanaged case at the Iowa City VA

Courtesy of Kain Schilling

 Former Army Spec. Kain Schilling says he owes his life to his friend and comrade former Army Sergeant Kyle White, “I could never repay him. We’re good friends... He knows I’m extremely thankful and that my family is eternally grateful.”

Schilling lives in Palo, Iowa and attended a White House ceremony earlier this week where his friend and was awarded the United States Military’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. He talks with host Ben Kieffer about an ambush in Afghanistan in 2007 by Taliban forces when White saved his life and the lives of several others in their unit.

SD Dirk

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowa Public Radio's Des Moines correspondent Rick Fredricksen about how lobotomies became common practice for curing PTSD in Iowa veterans after WWII.  Also, the Des Moines Register's Bryce Miller discusses the Cyclones in the Sweet 16, and the University of Iowa turns down HBO's

Janet Crum

Serving in the military changes one's perspective on life, but often it also alters the way they face death.  Ben Kieffer speaks with Deborah Grassman, the CEO and co-founder of Opus Peace.  Opus Peace  is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help people work through trauma.

Prior to Opus Peace, Grassman worked as a nurse practitioner for three decades at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was also the director of the VA's hospice program and personally took care of over 10,000 dying veterans.

John Pemble / IPR

The state cost per student in Iowa’s K-12 public schools is over six thousand dollars per year - increasing steadily over the past couple decades.

The Iowa legislature is supposed to set the amount of state aid for K-12 school budgets more than a year in advance. Schools say they need the budget in advance so they can plan teacher salaries, but republican law makers are hesitant to plan the budget too far ahead.

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

For Veterans Day, join host Ben Kieffer as he travels to Washington D.C. with more than 80 Iowa veterans.   The Eastern Iowa Honor Flight sent veterans of World War Two and the Korean War to the nation's capital to visit memorials and to get a tour of the city.  Hear ceremonies, sounds, and stories—emotional and lighthearted.

In Uniform

Nov 11, 2013

In war or in peace, thousands of Iowans have served in the armed forces.  With both archival audio and original interviews, "In Uniform" honors and remembers Iowa veterans who sacrificed and served the country since the Civil War all the way up to the War on Terror.

Iowans In War

Sep 27, 2013
Christopher Ebdon / flickr

From the notable case of the Sullivan brothers in World War II, to the lesser known but significant involvement in the Civil War, Iowans have a long history of fighting for their country. Today on River To River, we close “Iowa Week” with an account of Iowa’s military history, from the Civil War, to current-day conflicts.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Nationally, unemployment rates for veterans are in decline, but the highest rates of joblessness are suffered by soldiers most recently returned from deployment.

Back home, finding a job can be a challenge--whether it be finding the right words for a resume, or getting re-certified for the civilian equivalent of a military job.

Ben Stanton / Iowa Public Radio

Studies estimate that at least one in every five veterans experiences post-traumatic stress disorder after returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, guest host Emily Woodbury talks with two Iowans working to change that statistic.

Steven Lancaster, an assistant professor of psychology at Drake University, discusses his new study on how a soldier's "military identity" affects their likelihood of experiencing anxiety or depression.

Eric Anderson / flickr

Marine Sgt. Ross Gundlach and a military service dog, a golden lab named Casey, faced more than 150 missions together in Afghanistan, sweeping roads for bombs in the south Helmand Province. Today on River To River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Sgt. Gundlach about his experience and reunification with Casey in Iowa earlier this month. Also, anthropologist Matt Hill of the University of Iowa, on what makes our relationship with dogs so unique.

Robert Neff / flickr

Host Charity Nebbe explores art created by veterans in their post-military lives. We hear examples of poetry from Hugh Martin, winner of The Iowa Review's Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans.  Also, we hear journalism and creative non-fiction from Randy Brown.  And the music and military reflections of Lem Genovese. 

John Pemble / IPR

At least one state senator is calling for the person in charge of the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown to step down so a more thorough investigation can be conducted. This follows repeated complaints over management of the Veterans home. The Senate Veterans Affairs committee held a meeting Monday  to hear testimony. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

John Pemble / IPR

When Veterans return from active duty, transitioning back to civilian life is challenging. Team Rubicon puts veterans back on the front lines, responding to disaster, and renewing their sense of purpose.

Today on "River to River" we speak with the founders of Team Rubicon, Jacob Wood and William McNulty. They will be at Grinnell College next week to receive the $100,000 Grinnell Prize.

We'll also talk to Regional EPA administrator Karl Brooks. We'll ask him about the President's renewed focus on climate change in his recent State of the Union address.

Pat Blank

William Schaefer, professor emeritus of photography talks about his exhibit showcasing some of Iowa’s notable veterans, which is currently on display at the Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge in Iowa. Then, Captain Dan Grinstead of the Iowa Army National Guard is one of the veterans featured in the exhibit and he shares his story of his decision to enlist later in his life.

Doctor Michael Merzenich, a professor emeritus at the University of California at San Francisco, talks about the human brain how it works and how it can recover from injury.

John Pemble / IPR

For those of us who haven't served in the military, it's hard to imagine what it must be like. A new theatrical performance called, "Telling: Des Moines" gives Iowa veterans and change for them to share their stories and gives the audience and opportunity to understand the experience.

Bill Schaefer / Gold Star Museum

A new photo exhibit honors living Iowa veterans at the Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge. Most Iowans will recognize many of them. Exhibit opens to the public on Nov. 9th.

Greg Touzani of the University of Iowa Veterans Association
Bill Adams / Iowa Now

It’s a transition that isn’t all that easy: military veterans often have a tough time leaving the front line and moving back into life on a college campus or a job back home.

All this week we've been hearing what it's like being a Veteran in Iowa. Our reports from Iowa Public Radio's Rob Dillard have highlighted many facets of the lives of former soldiers: the mental anguish of war, concerns about health care, and the drive lure young veterans into military organizations. Today we wind up our week-long focus on veterans in Iowa with conversations about many of these topics.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. So far this week, Rob has told us about health care as it affects veterans, the mental anguish they experience after war, the drive to lure young veterans into military organizations, and an all-veterans band. Now we meet a veteran whose life was changed – but not ruined – by an accident he suffered while he was an army sergeant.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. Today, Rob Dillard examines the mental problems that sometimes beset veterans after they serve their country. Many turn to booze and drugs to fight off the demons that haunt their dreams after fighting during wartime. Thousands of them wind up on the streets or in homeless camps after they fail to reconnect with family and friends. Rob sees what’s being done in Iowa to help these troubled veterans.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. Iowa Public Radio reporter Rob Dillard has met with military service organizations and health-care providers in an attempt to uncover issues that face many veterans on their return to civilian life. Now, he takes on a lighter topic. Rob has found a bunch of Iowa veterans who are in the entertainment business – tooting horns, pounding drums and bringing joy to audiences statewide.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. Today, reporter Rob Dillard talks with members of military service organizations. Nationwide, these groups have struggled to maintain membership levels in recent time. Some of the smaller chapters are in danger of disappearing altogether. In Iowa, however, Rob found they continue to play an important role in the social lives of many veterans and their families.