Female Veterans Struggle In An Overloaded VA System

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Caitlin Cruz/News21

Army veteran Briana Hawkes, 25, sits with her daughter Aubrey, 3, outside Hawkes' parents' home in Bristolville, Ohio. When Hawkes was deployed, Aubrey “was trying to reach her hands out to hold me or for me to pick her up and I was like, ‘I can’t!’ It’s hard for you to explain something like that to a 1-year-old child,” she said. "But now she’s used to it, she understands a lot more.”

The fight to feel like a veteran weighs substantially on female soldiers returning from war, though their numbers have been historic, with more than 280,000 returning from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade.

These are less likely to find a job than male veterans and more likely to be a single parent with children to support, interviews and records in a News21 investigation revealed.



News21 logoBack Home: The Challenges Facing Post-9/11 Veterans Returning from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” was produced by News21, a national investigative reporting project involving top college journalism students across the country and headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. News21 is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation. The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Women & Philanthropy at ASU and the Peter Kiewit Foundation funded the work of individual fellows.

The project was made available to IowaWatch via the Investigative News Network, of which IowaWatch is a member.