Michael Hartnett was a Marine during the Gulf War and served in Somalia. He received a bad conduct discharge for abusing drugs and alcohol. His wife, Molly, helped him turn his life around. Quil Lawrence/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Quil Lawrence/NPR

Reed Holway spent 13 months in Iraq. He says PTSD brought on a drinking problem when he returned to the States — and that eventually led to a bad-conduct discharge. Vets with "bad paper" have trouble getting any VA health benefits — even for PTSD. Quil Lawrence/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Quil Lawrence/NPR

Probationary firefighter and veteran Victor Ramos practices driving the fire truck at the 16th Street Firehouse of the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue in Union City, N.J. Melanie Burford for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Melanie Burford for NPR

Ethel performs its Documerica program, featuring photos from Environmental Protection Agency archives, and music by composers including Vietnam veteran Kimo Williams, at the Park Avenue Armory in 2012. James Ewing/Brooklyn Academy of Music hide caption

itoggle caption James Ewing/Brooklyn Academy of Music

Janis Shinwari is seen wearing his body armor in 2008. Shinwari, an Afghan interpreter who assisted U.S. forces, has been waiting three years for a visa to enter the United States. He is now in hiding in Afghanistan. Matt Zeller hide caption

itoggle caption Matt Zeller

Niels Tietze leads a group of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq up the Snake Dike route on the western wall of Yosemite National Park's Half Dome. David P. Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David P. Gilkey/NPR

National Guardsman Andrew Sullens (left) climbs Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, Calif., with Pat Warren, lead climber from Paradox Sports. Sullens, who lost his leg below the knee while serving in Kapisa province, Afghanistan, participated in the three-day climb with other veterans to honor the anniversary of September 11th. David P. Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David P. Gilkey/NPR

The Long Walk, Brian Castner's memoir of PTSD and a difficult homecoming, will soon be an opera. YouTube hide caption

itoggle caption YouTube