A U.S. Air Force C-123 sprays herbicides on dense jungle beside a South Vietnamese highway on May 18, 1966. This aircraft is the last in a formation of three. Spray from the other two planes can be seen ahead. U.S. Air Force via AP hide caption

itoggle caption U.S. Air Force via AP

The ferry pulls in to Friday Harbor, the only incorporated city in San Juan County, Wash. Veterans will often travel the hourlong ferry ride to reach VA services here. Patricia Murphy/KUOW hide caption

itoggle caption Patricia Murphy/KUOW

Grant County Veterans Service Officer Bob Kelley (right) works with World War II Army veteran Frederick Kern at the Grant County Government Building in Marion, Ind., on Monday. Aaron P. Bernstein for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Aaron P. Bernstein for NPR

As an Army chaplain in Iraq, David Peters administered last rites and grieved with survivors. When he came home, he says, he "fell apart emotionally and spiritually." Courtesy of Robert K. Chambers hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Robert K. Chambers

U.S. soldiers stand at a checkpoint around Lakokhel camp in Afghanistan in 2010. Many soldiers return from war suffering from "moral injuries," or dealing with the fact that their sense of right and wrong was violated. Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Four Americans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan visit Kabul as part of Operation Proper Exit, a program designed for wounded warriors. From left, they are Staff Sgt. Ben Dellinger, Capt. Casey Wolfe, Capt. John Urquhart (who is hidden) and Sgt. James "Eddie" Wright. Sean Carberry/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Sean Carberry/NPR

For some rural vets who live far from a VA hospital, getting medical care has meant driving a day or two from home, and missing work. iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto

Alexander Morales, who served in the Army in the 1970s, with his family: wife Roberta; Elvia, 7, Elena, 8, and Elvira, 7 (in front), and Ruben Verdugo, 13, and Aaron D. Huerta, 17 (in back). Morales' family has been going for years to the Stand Down event in San Diego, where veterans receive assistance. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

For veterans like Tim Maynard, scuba diving provides relief from symptoms of PTSD. Maynard goes diving once a week, exploring the Florida Keys and shipwrecks off the coast of North Carolina. Courtesy of Tim Maynard hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Tim Maynard
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Soldiers returning from the Pacific wave from the deck of the USS General Mitchell on Dec. 11, 1945. Much of the health care demand in the VA system is from veterans of earlier wars. AP hide caption

itoggle caption AP

Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill Thursday about holding the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A cross-section of skeletal muscle in this light micrograph shows the individual, parallel muscle fibers (red). These fibers work in concert to power movement. Thomas Deerinck, NCMIR/ScienceSource hide caption

itoggle caption Thomas Deerinck, NCMIR/ScienceSource