A U.S. Army soldier guards the remains of a burned-out military ammunition truck after it was attacked in Fallujah, Iraq, on Oct. 19, 2003. Fallujah and its surrounds were the site of some of the bloodiest fighting for U.S. troops during the Iraq war. Khalid Mohammed/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Khalid Mohammed/AP

Hal Faulkner (left), 79, receives his new papers from two Marines after having his military status changed to "honorable discharge" at a recent ceremony. Faulkner was kicked out of the Marine Corps in 1956 for being gay. Courtesy of Phil Latzman hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Phil Latzman

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

Soldiers advance toward a simulated Afghan town during a training exercise at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, in 2012. While the suicide rate is rising in the military, it's declining for troops stationed at Fort Bliss, thanks in part to efforts to ramp up suicide awareness and prevention training. Brendan Johnson/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Brendan Johnson/Flickr

Tommy Sowers, assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, meets with vets at the VFW Hall in Nome, Alaska. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Frankie Kuzuguk, 82, gets a hug from his daughter Marilyn Kuzuguk at Quyanna Care Center in Nome, Alaska, after receiving an official honorable discharge and a distinguished service coin from visiting Veterans Affairs officials. The VA is still tracking down the few surviving members of the World War II Alaska Territorial Guard or delivering benefits to their next of kin. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

A woman holds the door for her daughter at the entrance to the Wales community center, where a meeting for local veterans turned into a gathering for many of the villagers in the tiny town. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Myla Haider (shown at a press conference in Washington, D.C., in 2011) says she initially decided not to report that she'd been raped because she'd "never met one victim who was able to report the crime and still retain their military career." Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images