Learn more about our roots in war, trauma and recovery. Read the new joint memoir from The War Horse founder Thomas J. Brennan and conflict photographer Finbarr O’Reilly, whose unlikely friendship helped heal their war-wounded bodies and souls.
"Shooting Ghosts" authors discuss war, Trauma, and loss
"I want safe, regulated medical cannabis to be a treatment option. Just like the sedatives and amphetamines the V.A. used to send me by mail. And the opioids they still send to my friends."
Dan Misch entered the U.S. Navel Academy under Don't Ask Don't Tell, and struggled for years to keep his sexual orientation under wraps. He endured the oppressive silence and slowly it ate away at him. When the repeal went into effect, a weight began to lift.
War Horse writer and Marine veteran William Gehrung killed himself in late August 2017. His friend and fellow Marine veteran and War Horse writer, Nate Eckman, wrote about their friendship and how Gehrung was the last person Eckman expected wou commit suicide.
Joy Craig's retirement ceremony was set to take place that day, but first, she had to sit down with an NCIS agent on base and relive sexual assaults she'd been scared to report for fear of retaliation.
Nina Semczuk worried that as a new second lieutenant she wouldn't strike the right balance between enforcing the rules and being a compassionate, understanding officer. One private's lunch paid the price.
Sam Gisselman was confident of his ability as a rifleman. He'd trained for war and looked forward to going on combat patrol and to proving himself, but it wasn't mean to be.
Explore Our Ongoing Series Veterans Adding Value
The Veterans Adding Value series aims to bridge the military-civilian divide through in-depth, vivid reporting and highlights the resilience, compassion, and selflessness forged through military service.
This ongoing series about veterans bettering the world around them is made possible through a generous grant from the Schultz Family Foundation.
A unique joint memoir from The War Horse founder Thomas J. Brennan and conflict photographer Finbarr O’Reilly, whose unlikely friendship helped heal their war-wounded bodies and souls.
Explore the impact of our Marines United investigation
Four months ago, The War Horse and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting broke the Marines United scandal. A lot has happened since then.
When his kid brother came back from war, Army veteran Drew Pham recognized in him the conflicted yearning to go back and desire to stay away. Drew's brother rejected terms like PTS, calling what he had a "soldier's heart."
When two aircraft collided in midair above North Carolina, Adam Stone and dozens of fellow Marines were tasked with identifying bits of the wreckage, including their brothers.
"Marine leadership seemed more concerned with killing the story as opposed to striking at the root of the problem," said Thomas J. Brennan, founder of The War Horse.
Four months ago, The War Horse broke the Marines United scandal.
A lot has happened since then.
A chance encounter with a female Marine veteran brought back memories for Liesel Kershul of what it was like to be on the outside of the Marine wives' "sorority."
Marine veteran Joy Craig writes an open letter to a new friend and Marine officers' wife, Liesel, about the chasm between the two groups of women—and her desire to change that.
Nina Semczuk struggled during civilian job interviews to translate how managing soldier drama while leading a 25-soldier platoon more than qualified her for the job.
Jenny Pacanowski tried to drown out PTS's screams with heroin. She realized she'd have to work on her internal monologue, or die.
There was only so much prep work Tenley Lozano could do before Dive School. But how could she prepare for the additional scrutiny women endure.
Liesel Kershul weathered three deployments with her now-husband, Tom. When they moved to Germany the isolation became too much, until she and Tom adopted Amber.
Life in D.C. was impossibly lonely for Elizabeth O'Herrin. She looked to church for community, but struggled to find female friends, until Gina.
Before he could heal, John Sims needed to understand that 30 years of service had taken its toll—not just on him, but on his family.
This essay is the first in a three-part series.
Dustin Jones prayed for contact, just a little bit of fire, to liven up the day. Imagine being at war in an unprotected position, hoping to draw a little gunfire.
Our Spring 2017 Writing Seminar at Pulitzer Hall
Thanks to a generous donation from the D.J. Edelman Family Foundation, our team brought 15 veterans and family members to Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism for a five-day immersive writing seminar alongside Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, leading veteran's advocates, and mentors to help them share their stories about war and trauma.
Additional support was provided by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Barnes and Noble, Pegasus Books, the 9/11 Memorial Foundation, The Half King, Hudson Whitman, and our guest speakers.
"I saw them about a hundred yards away, amid a sparse herd of goats. They were playing, running, chasing each other. I wanted to see them close up. I wanted to photograph them," Dan Bellis writes, "but really, I just wanted to see them. I guess I wanted to play, too."
The Defense Department is investigating the orchestrated stalking and the deliberate collection, and distribution of photographs of active duty and veteran women. Dozens of victims were identified by their name, rank, and duty station.
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.
Why should you donate to support our newsroom team?
Our stories are made possible by generous donors who trust that The War Horse will thoroughly, fairly, 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.
Our initial donors on Kickstarter helped us begin our mission. Your donations help us continue what we've started.
Thank you for your support.
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.
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.
what our writers are saying about us
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Our Readers Are Saying
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.
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.
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.
Our detailed standards for trauma reporting are inspired by The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.