Bulletproof reporting on war and trauma


The War Horse is the only nonprofit news outlet and community dedicated to investigating the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. 

The Quandary Of Perception Versus Reality

The women couldn’t tell anyone else or risk all of us getting a bad reputation. I wanted to believe that I hadn’t let those onboard the ship dictate what I could or couldn’t do.

Read Tenley's Story.

 

 

INSIDE THE PAINSTAKING RECOVERY PROCESS OF A MEDAL OF HONOR MARINE

Six years ago this month Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter suffered grievous wounds after shielding another Marine from a grenade blast in Afghanistan. Somehow, he survived. This is the story of his remarkable recovery. 

 

 

NOTHING PREPARES YOU FOR WAR

About halfway through deployment the Taliban delivered a memo to the village saying they would begin attacking the Americans and that the locals ought to leave. A few weeks later Katyusha rockets began raining down.

Read Noah's Story.

 

 
 

 

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Our stories are made possible by generous donors who trust that The War Horse will thoroughlyfairly, and ethically publish journalism that informs the public through storytelling that contextualizes Post-9/11 war and trauma.
Large and small — donations make everything our newsroom does possible. 

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THE DAY I HELD MY FIRE

Then, the JTAC said this on the radio: “The air’s got cold feet.”

Maybe it was impossible for me to understand a soldier’s mindset from an air-conditioned cockpit.

Read Eric's Story.

WHEN TEARFUL GOODBYES WERE FOREIGN

New Marines were being made on the other side of that fence. On this side, I held my DD-214 and headed home for good.

Read Robert's Story.

 

 

Do you know of a Post-9/11 veteran suicide? 

The War Horse is collecting demographic information about verifiable suicides such as name, age at death, place of death, military service data, family contact information, and more. By filling out our confidential form you are helping us identify Post-9/11 suicides and the untold stories from war

 

 
 

 

Service, Sexuality, and Stereotypes Of A Female Veteran

She faced discrimination then, and she can handle the presumptions now. She is proud of her service, and doesn’t regret it, regardless of the invisible injuries it caused.

Read Tenley's Story.

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GUNS, BOOZE, AND SUICIDE:
HOW 'STUPID' SAVED A LIFE

He feels guilty sometimes too about some of what he did and saw, but unless he’s had a drink or two, he doesn’t talk about that stuff.

Read David's Story.

 

 
 

 

REMEMBERING 9/11.
15 YEARS LATER.

We asked fifteen active duty service members, civilians, and veterans to write about 9/11 and how it has changed their lives.

These are their stories.

 

 

MY AFGHAN FRIEND COULD BE MURDERED SOON

He quietly departed his village alone and traveled to Kabul, where he began sleeping on the floor of a friend’s apartment. Without a job, he couldn’t afford to bring his wife and daughter with him, so they remained with Zabi’s father, who swore to protect them.

Read About Zabi.

LOSING SENSE OF SELF ONE SUICIDE AT A TIME

Damn the terrorist groups. And damn the suburbanites back home and their parades of glitter, as if glitter could fill the holes in us or mend the gaps in our platoons when we died in the war, or now, back here, when we died at home.

Read Gerardo's Story.

 

 
 

 

The Redemptive Power Of Lying

Coming home in itself can be retraumatizing. Veterans tell their loved ones massaged truths about what they’ve been through and who they’ve become, as they struggle to find out themselves.

Read David's Story

Understanding Veteran Suicide

The War Horse is collecting demographic information about verifiable suicides among Post-9/11 veterans. By filling out our confidential form you are helping us identify suicides and other untold stories from war. 

Take Our Survey

 

 
 

 

RELICS OF WAR AND THE STORIES THEY SHARE

The As military kids, they've endured moves every few years and experienced me leaving for long periods. They've visited countless battlefields, monuments, and war museums. We've been at war for their entire lives. 

Read Brandon's Story

 

 

My Religion Of Death And Praying To Kill

The Marine Corps taught me that despair and violence was renewing. In boot camp I shouted “kill” 100 times a day, and went to two church services back-to-back on Sundays. I prayed to kill. It would mark me, and yes, I believed, it would save me.

Read Peter's Story

THE AFGHAN GIRLS I COULDN'T SAVE

The reality, I think, is that I made no difference at all. They were never going to understand American-style policing. As long as the Afghans thought it was OK to treat women like property, like killing a woman was equivalent to killing a goat, then they were never going to understand higher-level concepts like voting, or free speech, or feminism. 

Read Tim's Story.

 

 

What Our Readers Are Saying

BECOMING A VETERAN WITHOUT WAR

To me, "veteran" was synonymous with "warrior." 

  And the warless, like me, are not. But the idea that only warriors or those directly affected by war in obvious ways can speak to war's effects with authority isn't true.

Read Nate's Story.

 

 

A WAR THAT BEGAN AS CHILDREN

Wars were small, quick affairs involving special operators, U.N. peacekeepers and long-range bombers. A decade later, I found myself going back and forth with an antiwar protestor after covering a rally at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the student newspaper. I was learning an early lesson in journalism: admit personal views at your own risk.
Read Derrick and Ian's story.

THE MAN WITH HALF A HEAD

The man with half a head had a wife and two sweet little children. The children were playing on the floor of his hospital room while his wife looked out the window. She didn’t say anything when I rearranged his pillow, or even when I left the room.
Read more.

 

 

A family portrait of the Ortiz Rivera family in Williamsburg, Virginia on April 16, 2016, nearly six years after the death of Javier Ortiz Rivera, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. Bottom Left, Anthony Ortiz Rivera, 8, above Andrew Ortiz Rivera, 11, Juan "Junior" Vasquez Jr., Veronica Ortiz Rivera, Kaleb Vasquez, 16 months and Alyssa Ortiz Rivera. 

A family portrait of the Ortiz Rivera family in Williamsburg, Virginia on April 16, 2016, nearly six years after the death of Javier Ortiz Rivera, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. Bottom Left, Anthony Ortiz Rivera, 8, above Andrew Ortiz Rivera, 11, Juan "Junior" Vasquez Jr., Veronica Ortiz Rivera, Kaleb Vasquez, 16 months and Alyssa Ortiz Rivera. 

JAVIER ORTIZ RIVERA

King. Papi. Marine.

  Alyssa’s teacher took her to the counselor’s office where Veronica was waiting. “My mom looked at me and told me Papi wasn’t coming home,” Alyssa said. “I didn’t know what she meant. She just looked at me and said, ‘He died.’”

  Things were the same for Anthony, who was three. He walked into pre-school that morning expecting good news. Instead, he was told he’d never see his father again.

This is their story.

 

 

REBUILDING HONOR:
HOW KYLE CARPENTER CAME BACK FROM DEATH

His fellow Marines, doctors and his family questioned whether he would survive, or if he did, what his quality of life would be. This is the story of his recovery.

Coming Soon!

 

 

A CENTURIES-LONG BATTLE TO SOLVE THE AMBIGUITY OF WAR

What do war crimes, Sun Tzu, General James N. Mattis, and Enhanced Interrogation have in common?

Read and find out.

 

 

Years Later, Loss at War Resonates At Home

“I hate war,” he said.  “I don’t have my dad.” Anthony’s father was killed in Afghanistan five years ago. Anthony is now eight.
Read his story.
 


OUR PLEDGE

Our detailed standards for trauma reporting are inspired by The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.


Discover More About The War Horse

How we are going to Make the war horse a reality

With a responsive growth plan and responsible use of donor funds, The War Horse will release stories and site features in stages that ensure we adhere to our Standards of Trauma and Legal Reporting Practices. 

JOURNALISM WITH EVERYONE'S STORY IN MIND

The War Horse is a database-driven investigative journalism outlet that publishes reporting focused on the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Armed Forces. 

THE HOME OF THE ECHOES PROJECT

The first fully digital collection of multimedia profiles for each of the U.S. service members and interpreters killed in action since 9/11.

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100% of all donations and in-kind services are used to fund our mission and explore the untold stories from Post-9/11 conflict.