Skip to main content

tv   Washington Journal 05282018  CSPAN  May 28, 2018 7:00am-10:07am EDT

7:00 am
later, looking at u.s. involvement in france during world war i. 28,: it is monday, may memorial day across the united states. you are seeing a live shot of the tomb of the unknown soldier at arlington national cemetery this money just across the potomac river from washington, d.c. later this morning on "washington journal," the first major american engagements of world war i that took place 100 years ago this month. we will spend time talking about holiday travel and what is in store for summer gas prices. we begin this memorial hearing from veterans and family members
7:01 am
who tell us about the transition from military to civilian life. we want to know what helped, what did not, and how much support you receive from the v.a. or other federal programs. give us a call if you're a veteran or family member of a centralin eastern or time zones. in the mountain or pacific time zone -- you can catch up with us on social media this morning on twitter http://twitter.com/cspanwj. good monday morning to you. veterans and family members can start calling and now. we want to hear from you in this first hour of "washington journal." some statistics on the veteran population in this country, as of 2017, according to the bureau of labor statistics, 20.4 million veterans lived in the united states, 10% are women. a .1 million veterans are over the age of 60.
7:02 am
4.1 million veterans have served 2001.september 17% of those are women. 4.9 million veterans, about 24%, have a service-connected disability. we want to hear your stories this morning on "washington journal" on the tradition from military life to civilian life. with set aside our phone lines for just veterans and the family members. last week there was a hearing on how new medical technology could help veterans in that transition and after they received wounds in combat. at that hearing, talking about the challenges the returning veterans face. here is what she had to say. >> today there are about 20 million veterans in the u.s. advances in medical response and technology in the battlefield have meant more veterans are surviving. returning home with traumatic
7:03 am
injuries that meant certain death in earlier generations. protected complex in iraq and afghanistan resulted in many of our veterans serving multiple deployments and combat zones. even if they survive these diplomas without any visible injuries, some are most certainly suffering and other ways. veterans experience mental health disorders come a substance use disorders, posttraumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury at a disproportionate rate compared to their civilian counterparts. veteransamerican commit suicide daily. younger veterans are at the highest risk, while an exact count is hard to come by, possibly 40,000 veterans today are homeless. these are statistics that show -- technology will not solve all of these challenges.
7:04 am
however, technology can go a long way to aid veterans suffering from both physical and mental health disorders. host: we're hearing from veterans and their family members this morning in the first hour of "washington journal." call in and let us know about the transition from military said -- to civilian life as we show you live pictures this morning from the tomb of the unknown soldier at burlington cemetery. the phone lines for veterans and their family members -- that hearing on how medical technology can help veterans happened last tuesday. we will show you more throughout the first hour of "the washington journal." if you want to watch it in its entirety, you can do so at c-span.org. steve is up first calling in from stateless, missouri. tell us about that transition.
7:05 am
would just like to say i came out after my year of duty in vietnam, came back home in 1969. i was single. i was 20 result, almost 21. came back to my family met my mom and dad who i lived with. not married and did not have children. i guess the biggest thing i remember over and over was my mom and dad and some of my close friends and other family members , cousins, they did not know me. they said i was completely changed person. supposedly, was a sweet young man when i went in. when i came out, i was foulmouthed, a hooligan, guess you could say. i did some drinking. finally, listening to my mom and other people, finally got my act together. i used the g.i. bill. got $400 a month to go to the university of missouri and got my degree in accounting. in myvery successful
7:06 am
professional life, now married with two children who are grown. i am a 90% disabled veteran. very serious post-traumatic stress come on all kinds of medicine. but they guide it is helping me and keeping me and . -- and keeping me in line. life is good now. life is good now, but it was a little bit of a hard road for me for many years. said your family said you're a different person. did you think you are a different person? caller: no, i was in denial. i was very argumentative. they just saw me differently and i thought i was the same person. but i guess that is true, you know, when you're in denial someone comes that you were is critical of you. i thought i was the same person. looking back on it now, they were right. they were exactly right. host: when did you come to that
7:07 am
conclusion they were right about that, steve? how long did it take? caller: i would say 30 years. i went to counseling. i would to marriage counseling and individual counseling. they were right. they were right. i was distinctly a changed person. i think that i am fine now. i am very successful in my career. i still have some social issues. i don't like people walking behind me. i have gotten comments about that. people say, what is wrong with you? i say it is just something from being in the jungle, you know, in the bush. i did not like anything behind me. i'm still to that point. i am kind of paranoid a little bit. not severe, but i do notice it. i don't like it.
7:08 am
but other than that, i have been married 46 years. i have a wonderful wife, my best friend. she supported me the whole way. thank you. host: steve, thank you for sharing your story. john is in georgia where there's a big air force base. good morning. caller: good morning. tell us about the transition, john. caller: i was 19 when i went in the military and spent 26 years in the military. when i got out, the transition was different. you start trying to find a job. there was not alive. -- there was not a lot for you to do. you could do stuff, the people ire a lot of the veterans at the time when i got out.
7:09 am
-- or wereforce base a lot of civilians working, but when you got out, you're supposed to have been six months out without going back into the full-service -- some people got waivers and some people did not. the grandfather clause or whatever. if you got someone working, family member working already, he's going to try to find a way to get you onto the base. that was it. but for a while -- it took me about four or five years to more or less get things working, but i finally did get them working. now i'm 73. i just retired again. i retired in april of this year. i am doing all right now. but it was not the easiest thing getting out of the military,
7:10 am
into the civilian world. host: did you feel like there were programs dalby do that? was there one or two that help to do that or was it something you felt you needed to do on your own? caller: i needed to do it on my own. there was a program to go to school and things like that. at the things that i was doing, i was -- i knew about computers and physical education. i spent my first 16 years and doing a gymnasium a lot of things and recreation. i obtained the rank of senior master sergeant. i have the experience and the ability to do things. years -- i spent 16
7:11 am
years and that field. i spent 10 years in operations. aircraft and making sure the pilots got their training. when you get out, there's nothing out there for that type of career. they were not heavily into physical training and stuff like that at that time. but eventually, it all came through. they started using a lot of people to teach people how to use their muscles and stuff like that. host: john, thank you. we're talking to veterans and their family members only. tell us about your experience or your family members experience transitioning from the military
7:12 am
to civilian life. that is what we're talking about for the first hour of our program on memorial day today. if you are a veteran or family member in the eastern or central is -- nes, the number the caller from georgia just now was talking about employment and trying to find a job after leaving the military. here is some statistics on veteran unemployment, this from 2017. there are about 370,000 unemployed veterans, 4% of those were between the ages of 18 to 24. as we are talking this morning, i want to know that president trump is up and tweaking and tweeted his memorial day message
7:13 am
. here's what the president had to say. pres. trump: on this memorial day, i know that everybody is remembering the fallen soldiers who have paid the ultimate price for our country. it is a country that we all love. last year at arlington cemetery, nameda young boy christian jacobs. he was special. he was standing fully in the uniform. his father was a great man to him. he was a great man to me. and christian was standing over his father's grave saluting. it was something i will never forget. arlington is a special place and our country is a special place. as americans, we come together to remember our great heroes on this memorial day. thank you. a live shot of arlington national cemetery this morning. a rainy morning here in
7:14 am
washington, d.c. the president is expected to attend a wreathlaying this morning at 11:00 a.m. at the tomb of the unknown soldier. in the meantime this morning on "the washington journal," we're taking your calls in the first hour talking about the experience of transitioning from military to civilian life. middleton, good morning. caller: good morning. host: go ahead, sir. caller: i was drafted when i was still in high school. year, 1966.nior i did not go to vietnam, but i was in germany. i also metmy time -- my wife over there and i married her. i stayed another year because she was going to school. then i come back to the states may.70 on the 13th of
7:15 am
the 19th of may, i was working at a still male and i worked there -- steel mill. thought anything about the veterans and when i quit work after 36 years, the company of work for gave me no interest whatsoever. so i decided, well, maybe the v.a. let me come out there now since i have no insurance. because iicked me out had too much money saved up they said most of if i wanted to be in the v.a., i had to give up everything i owned and file a hardship to be able to go to the v.a.. how do you think a person like me, 71 years old, think about the v.a. when they treated me when i did not need their services because i had a good insurance when i was working.
7:16 am
but when i needed them, they threw me to the wayside most of how do you think i feel as a veteran at this time now? host: what did you end up doing, middleton? caller: i do wait until 2012 when entered 65 to get my insurance. i had no insurance for six years because of them. i was lucky to not have any bad sickness or anything. i could pay a doctor bill or stuff like that, but if i'd had to have some big test run, surgeries, i would have been in that shape. i had to pray to god that i did not have that. but the v.a. treated me wrong and i cannot praise them for anything that they do. and dalton, georgia. good morning. caller: good morning. i just wanted to say, i guess it sort of depends what area you're coming back to.
7:17 am
if you come back to a big city were larger place that has a lot of jobs, i guess it is easier to transition. small town to a very in south georgia. all of your friends that you have before you went into the army had gone. it is hard time. it is a real hard time. but i just wanted to say the only thing that saved me was the g.i. bill. i went back to college and got a degree, so that is what saved me. host: what did you end up doing? caller: i ended up teaching school. in 1999. host: what did you teach? caller: i taught history and social studies. host: what would you say to your students about memorial day? caller: a lot of times we would take a field trip to
7:18 am
chattanooga, tennessee. armistice to it as day. and we did that a lot of years on memorial day. much easier for me to transition -- it is hard. it is hard. host: we want to hear from veterans come here from family thatrs of veterans about transition, what was hard, what helps, what did not post up what federal programs were there for you. danny is in north carolina. go ahead. kenny. this is is when i went into the military, they spent millions of dollars training me. i got injured in the military. when it come time to get out of the military, they drop you like hot butter. they train you to brainwash you getttack and then as you
7:19 am
out, they just turn you loose. there is no deprogramming of any sort for the military. the veterans administration at this time have come up with some kind of rules regarding even the medical system as they took all meds from them, all of our pain medicines, nerve medicines, completely away. now if you complain, they start flagging your file was some red flag or some different colors of flags. basically, that completely done away with any benefit of going to a doctor through the v.a. system. i was hoping the new inspector for the v.a. helps get some help for the vets. i know i'm not the only one. i'm kind of a young vet. thato know there are vets are 80, 90 sold -- 90 years old
7:20 am
refused medical care. host: held argue? waser: i got out because i disabled. they runnderstand why over the vets coming at a mean? they're doing this to stop a deal with the flexor medical file, which i looked up on the internet and the v.a. says, well, this program ended in 2013 or december 2015. yet the v.a. a national right now is threatening me with a red flag that goes on my medical file, my permanent medical file to warn people i am trouble because they won't give me no medicine and i won't shut up because i keep complaining. because i tell them, you're wrong. if the medicine was good for 15, 20 years, why now is the medicine no good? who owes me, you know what a mean? somewhere i got damaged.
7:21 am
if i've got a problem, then they gave it to me. host: danny, thank you. we go to houston, texas. good morning. caller: how are you doing? veteran. like the caller before, i was in themarines before panamanian invasion. i was stationed at camp pendleton. i got process to get out. i get ready to discharge out and they dropped me like a hot potato. i said i wanted to commit suicide, the whole works. i came back to houston. all of the money they give the v.a., these people are incompetent. they don't have the interest at
7:22 am
heart for the veterans. why do they hire these people that do not really care about the veterans? they should have the veterans at heart. iraq afghanistan to make sure these people are secure. many bridge, there are so veterans. host: was specifically could they be doing differently? caller: all of the money they give these organizations that just say they're going help veterans? they should take that money, you know, and really give it to the veteran families, the caregiver people. the caregiver. you for the call. is anything else you wanted to add? caller: god bless donald trump. he fights hard for the veterans.
7:23 am
i ain't never seen no president theht harder for veterans. host: bringing up the issue of suicide rates and ptsd at the house hearing last week on new medical technology and how it can help veterans, john warden is the president of the nonprofit group that was working with veterans and ptsd issues. he spoke about suicide rates and what could be done to help veterans in that area. here's a bit of what he at his say. >> a soon-to-be released report reviewed 3000 suicides to evaluate the cause and effect and recommend steps to improve care to our veterans and provides data to show why 20 veterans commit suicide each day. what are the risk factor or's, diagnosis, family component at the root cause of suicide. the review found diagnosis most
7:24 am
common in all suicides are depression, ptsd, anxiety, now called use disorder with the average suicide now having multiple diagnoses. the top risk factors are pain, access to firearms, worsening of health status, relationship problems, hopelessness, and decline in physical ability. most of the suicides were not identified as high risk in the medical records. of the 20 suicides per day, only three were receiving v.a. mental health services at the time of their death. the reasons? inconvenience, long wait times, paperwork, transportation, and stigma. the top recommendation of this report is to come up with an enhanced suicide risk assessment and safety planning capability that addresses the complex care needs of our veterans utilizing technology, clinician training,
7:25 am
and extending more into the community. there is a need for a more systematic assessment tool that can document risk. aired lasthearing tuesday on c-span. you can watch it online. we're talking about the issue of veterans coming home, transitioning from military life to civilian life, hearing from you in this first hour of "the washington journal" as we show arlington shot of wha national cemetery, the tomb of the unknown soldier. having this conversation on memorial day. twitter,d out on there's an important distinction to make that memorial day is for the dead and veterans day is for those alive. another joins in -- we're hearing from veterans and also from family members. you can tell us about veterans who made -- maybe alive or not
7:26 am
about that transition from military left him a silly and life. the phone lines of your veteran or family member in eastern or central time zone, (202) 748-8000 and in the mountain or pacific time zone, (202) 748-8001. david in treasure island, florida, good morning. caller: i volunteered to fly helicopters in 1963. i just found out, and i don't know how many flight physicals i the, a discharge physical, v.a. has destroyed my health records. according to them, i have no record. it is just despicable the way the veterans are treated by the v.a. luckily, i have wonderful entrance. i never needed it. i am 75. i applied just to get in the system and was declined.
7:27 am
it is just terrible the way veterans are treated by our government. thank god for trump. host: do you think president trump is going to make more changes at the v.a. to fix the problems you're talking about? caller: he is a destroyer. he destroys things, and let's hope he can fix them will stop i think he can. and he will get people who will do it. the despicable politicians -- it is just unbelievable. thank you. host: david in florida. isaac is in california. isaac, turned on your tv and go ahead with your comment. caller: unbelievable. host: we will wait for isaac on hold and michael from richmond, virginia. go ahead. caller: i'm a disabled veteran. i can feel for some of these vets out here about the
7:28 am
destroyed records. i was over 40 years my records were destroyed in a fire in st. louis. i found out later in 2015 that my records were not destroyed in a fire because that fire had happened three years prior to me going into the service. and they told me for 40 years, turn me down on disability. thank god for president by the name of barack obama. i went to the white house. i had written five presidents and 17 senators and got no results. i wrote one letter to barack they and he sent a man and found my records. in the veteran says they're telling them there is no records, there are records out there. they just have to be up to figure out how to pursue it and find them which they keep us -- i was lucky. i recently was awarded 100% disability. 400%actually rated over
7:29 am
disabled. and right now i am fighting them for one last piece because i have a neck problem also. i broke my back. i fell in a manhole. i have several problems. they're not recognizing my neck and my arms and my hands. to neuropathy. neuropathy is normally from diabetes. i have it from an injury to the spinal column. i have been so frustrated with this over these last 40 years. at one point, i just thought about giving up and coming you know, just walking away and disappear. but i just kept fighting. i urge all veterans to keep fighting. there are people out there that can help them. you just have to find them. -- our system at the
7:30 am
v.a. is not very good, in my opinion. called donalddent trump. i'm a disabled individual. that is a man that made fun of more than 12% of our population. soon to be 18% with all of the baby boomers coming in. mind blowing. host: that is michael and virginia this morning speaking of president trump and the v.a. as c-span viewers are aware, president trump named robert wilke the acting head of the veterans affairs. that is his nominee for the job. he has led the v.a. since president trump fired david shulkin by tweet back in march. he comes from the pentagon where he is the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness and previously served as assistant secretary for defense unit george w. bush administration. talking to veterans and their family members only on this memorial day in this first hour of our program about the transition from military life to
7:31 am
civilian life am also looking for your tweets as well. steve tweeted this morning -- margaret is in texas. margaret, go ahead. caller: good morning, c-span. in 2000. my husband i worked on a military base and we met and we got married and he was a military veteran. when i met him, he was already suffering from posttraumatic stress and many different issues from the military. reapplied, after my pushing him, he reapplied for benefits for disability and ended up when he passed away, came back from 100% disabled veteran service related injury. oriole is.
7:32 am
what had happened to us, when we sppmarried, we boughtan from the department of defense. insurance that is supposed to guarantee i was to receive 55% of his retired pay had something happen to him. away, littleassed did we know, we were not told this, by him dying of 100% disability, the v.a. paid me dpi.hing called i received that. because of that, they would not pay me for the entrance we had paid for from the survival benefits plan. we paid out of his retirement every month for that insurance. because he was 100% disabled not qualify for dic, they did not pay the insurance.
7:33 am
other being widows cheated out of money that we paid into. a lot of people -- i try to explain this, they don't understand, they think we misunderstood the law or something like that. host: where to get the 65,000 number from? caller: because i am in a group that we all share back and forth. it is estimated. if you look it up, it is all over. it is estimated that there are 65,000 of us. it may be more or less, i don't know. i just got that number from a group i am in that we have an online forum that we are to get this reversed. what ended up happening was they can us if we remarry, we requalify for the benefit. isn't that weird? people think donald trump is so great and he's going to do something for the veterans. donald trump don't give a you know what about the veterans. he does not care. he did not serve. he doesn't care. he doesn't even know what is
7:34 am
going on with the veterans. and i just wish people would a landonng in lal realize that this guy does not care about anybody but himself. every i try to call in on one of these holidays to talk about this because it is very sad. i'm losing like $1000 a month because the v.a. decided to just -- not the v.a., i'm sorry, the department of defense decided to just forget us. host: what is the name of your online group if people want to look it up? caller: sbv widows. host: agra bringing up donald trump. here's another tweet from yesterday. the president saying --
7:35 am
host: rolling thunder taking place every year in washington, d.c., for the past 31 years. here's the washington times story on it showing the motorcycles lined up for perhaps the drive across the memorial bridge from arlington cemetery into washington, d.c. down below the picture, there is retired u.s. navy commander who on commander of the uss cole october 12, 2000, when his ship was struck by al qaeda terrorists. he is interviewed as part of the rolling thunder event. he was in d.c. yesterday. he has been a guest on this program before if you want to go back and check out his appearance. i believe he was talking about his book at the time about the lessons he learned in his life since that attack on the uss cole. to hear your stories about the transition from military life to civilian life. that is what we're talking about in the first hour of "the washington journal."
7:36 am
dean, go ahead. caller: i was in the cold war. desert storm shield and the yugoslavian conflict. when i left in 1997 and i was evaluated, the evaluation at the v.a., they were very very rude. that was putting it mildly. the lady told me in denver, colorado, v.a., you veterans are just a leech on society. you need to just quit. so when i ask lined it to her supervisor this, she got promoted out of her position. so i have been working with the v.a. ever since then. just recently, thanks to president trump, i am being reevaluated. i am 10% disabled. they found a my record that i was gunshot and i got chemical
7:37 am
burns and everything, but i'm not getting any benefits of it. thanks to president trump, the v.a. has been changing. another incident is my father. my father was in the military. he was a vietnam veteran. he got sick and they gave him 100%, then they cut him down to 75%. he died of cancer because of agent orange. in the past, the v.a. has not helped the military. they have -- the transition of getting out back then was terrible. i went to an interview with a guy and said i was in the military for 13 years. he said, oh, you wasted your time. branch that tries to help the veterans get out. they sent me to this guy for a job interview. host: did you feel like you wasted your time?
7:38 am
caller: no, i did not waste my 13 years. it hurt me back then whenever here is this guy, i'm coming out of the military, i have all of and headership backing, is like, oh, no, you wasted 13 years of your life. then i went to the v.a. rep and said, look, lady, why are you sending me to discover that hates military? doesn't hireaid he military because it is a waste of time. she is like, oh, i'm sorry. no, you don't do that. what i'm understanding is it is changing. it is not better yet. i would not say it is even a to percent better, but slowly it is getting better. just like one of your other caller said, the v.a. don't care about us. they want to cut the money, the benefits so they can save money instead of helping the veterans. and say, hey, if you
7:39 am
post-traumatic stress, if you ptsd, we will help you with the service dog. it helps you with your post-traumatic stress. host: dean, thank you for the call. john smith writes in on twitter -- theory, illinois, tell us about your transition. caller: thank you for taking my call. first of all, i would like to say my dad is 91 years old. he is had medical issues and so forth. they have run tests now at columbia, missouri. they have come back after almost a month and now they can't find the test result. they want him to come back down and do it again, which he is not going to. host: is that at a v.a. facility? caller: yes, in columbia, missouri. we have the option of going to to theis, missouri,
7:40 am
v.a., which is terrible. my father-in-law was down there. it is so filthy. i know politicians would not go down there to get their care by any means at all. my son is currently in the army. he's got a very tough job. he is a mortician in the army. they have a high rate of suicide in their unit. they don't help them. they come back off of a tour in afghanistan and set them in the barracks for two to three weeks at a time and don't help them at all. they drink all the time. they commit suicide and nobody wants to help them. then they don't understand why these kids are like they are today. we turn our backs on these veterans. he is a mortician and yes ptsd, but they say if you say that, then you are a coward and you can't handle the situation you're in most of he has volunteered so many different positions, and in afghanistan it was really bad. is outhis best buddies with ptsd.
7:41 am
like the gentleman said before, they don't help him, they just give them a service dog. has changed so much in the last year, guys. it is unbelievable. he is a mortician, too. he did not want to be a mortician. and now have turned their back on him. has changed so much in if it wasn't for his three-year-old daughter, i think you would commit suicide today. i want to thank all of the veterans out there for serving. keep fighting. thank you, c-span, for putting this on today. day like today. veterans need to be taken care of. host: you mention your father service and your son's service and your granddaughter. after the stories you just shared, would you want her to serve? caller: no. no. to died my right hand for this country, and that was in 1980. and now to see what has happened to this country, i would never raise my hand for this country again.
7:42 am
forive all of this money other countries for their defense and their army, but somehow or another we end up over there fighting for them and not knowing where the money goes. how about taking the money we give to pakistan, to india, to these other countries, take that money maybe put it toward our veterans and help them out in the families? i appreciate your time today, sir. like i said, keep these everybody and mind that is lost our life. about one veryry well-known veteran and the health challenges he faces, former president george h.w. bush has been hospitalized because of low grade pressure -- low blood pressure and fatigue. it was announced yesterday he was taken to south main health care. president bush will turn 94 on june 12 in the nation's lungs living president, hospitalized several times in receipt years because of failing health.
7:43 am
he arrived last week in maine where the bush family has a summer home. bush attended a monthly pancake breakfast on saturday and met with veterans at the american legion post 159. he was most recently hospitalized in houston back in april, just a day after his wife barbara bush was buried. jack is in kansas city, kansas. good morning. caller: good morning. first of all, i would like to say how much i appreciate all of the veterans i served with when i was in vietnam that are not here today. marines when i was about 18 years old. in basic boot camp training and all of this stuff, then went to vietnam. valleyaround the arizona
7:44 am
, the mountains, then i came home. when i came home, they kicked me out. well, they didn't really kick me out, i just decided not to continue on. they gave me the opportunity to get out. what i found that was so fascinating about it was that here we all are, at camp pendleton, and they say, well, you know it has been a pleasure, sir. we appreciate your service. welcome me know, i said, i need to get out here and get a job and all the stuff. i thought they would have some place where you could go and interview for a job and see about this and that and the other. the only guy that showed up was darrell kates from lapd. he said this one thing, i will hire all of you. i passed on that. so came back to kansas city. i was having real deep problems
7:45 am
readjusting. i went to the v.a.. they said, oh, there's nothing wrong with you. there's does such thing. this is to do years ago. that said, there's really no such thing as ptsd. orange. so for about 20 years, i just bummed around. finally i got them to give me 10% disability. aboutis went on for, oh, 10 years. then i reapplied. obama became the president. zinke in charge of the veterans, which i think was one of the best things at the time. they started to recognize posttraumatic stress disorder.
7:46 am
ptsd. diabetes caused by this business about donald trump and how he is going to change things? this is something that is not going to happen. and you can tell because he has already nominated his personal doctor to be the head of the veterans administration. now what does this say for a man that is supposedly looking for the best, the most competent individual to handle a situation like this? it has been a rough road for veterans. i heard the derailment talking about -- he gentleman talking about medications and how they're trying to keep people off of opioids in this kind of stuff. and that is a good thing.
7:47 am
but in the early 1970's, you could go to the veterans administration and you see veterans humming of their every day. and when they would hand out their meds, they would take them home and grocery stats because they would rather deal with individuals, deal with an individual that is high all the time then somebody in his right .ind and complaining that is pretty much all i got to say about it. host: jack, thank you. about 15 minutes left in this conversation with just veterans and their family members only. we want to hear about the transition from military life to civilian life, what helped you and what did not, what programs were out there for you. daniel is in anderson, indiana. go ahead. caller: yes. first of all, i would like to thank all of the veterans, men and women that have served in the past years and gave their so i can speak on this
7:48 am
phone on this issue today. i'm not a vet myself. my dad and my brothers served, my nephews and brother-in-law served. as far as the eva -- the v.a. in the services they render to men back,men when they come it is quite evident that the system has failed. i don't know why the v.a. is not totally ran by men and women that have served. they are trained to take care of their fellow soldiers in themselves, and they spent all of that time doing that while they're serving. then they come back here, and they have to rely on bureaucrats , you know, civilians to look after them. that is totally ridiculous. that is about all i -- host: how do you feel about
7:49 am
getting more of those that members of congress? caller: that would be a good place to start right there. host: daniel, on that topic, the cover story of this week's christian science monitor the headline "more military veterans from both parties are running for congress, vowoing to to for the culture of tribalism." the titlee hill" is of the story. she writes in her piece --
7:50 am
host: if you want to read more from that, this was christian science monitor weekly. vincent in alabama. good morning. caller: good morning. good morning, sir. well, i was in the marine corps up until 1985 with the marine reserves. -- theynd truly, wouldn't let me do that. all branches of services for over mandated. i have had it pretty hard since that time. i managed to get by. i finally got my disabilities and everything, not service action, and then turn around and 60% service up to
7:51 am
connected, now up to 80%. really and truly, i've been thingsg all of the v.a. on c-span, and i just a understand why they keep on talking about the same thing over and over and over about the finances and all. it just drives me up the wall because they're not really doing what they need to do. host: do think that president trump can fix that? well, it is a slow process for president trump, but he is trying his best. more or need to really less take the hill himself and v.a.to them in person, the hearings that they have all of
7:52 am
the time, and stop talking about the cost of this in the cost of that. the ones hurting the worst right now because they're just barely making it by. the vietnam vets, the korean vets, world war ii's, which my heart goes out to the debbie debbie to -- world war ii's, korean vets. it is just during the apart. i wish somebody would stop talking and just get it done. host: stanley, virginia, go ahead. caller: thank you. -- thank youor the for the last comments. m&a be pilot veteran. brother of an army veteran who was enlisted in the brother of an air force veteran, both of
7:53 am
kicked in pay to make sure i go to college before enlisting. it really takes to heart the things i'm hearing this morning. i have a father-in-law who is retired army. army.rry, in the my wife and i, you know, having last these stories for the 15 years, we decided to just put intooney and our time starting a foundation. there is probably over 100 veteran organizations, many of which are set for helping veterans transition. i am on the way to a world war ii memorial this morning. the folks who are down there and the folks in bethesda and some
7:54 am
of these other hospitals where we now have transition programs in the military, which are set, particularly the one at walter reed, bethesda, where you have got people who are in place who are designed -- positioned to help in all the service, and all of the services are there. the issue is really, really still a very difficult problem. we are not transitioning people in a way that gets them the -- ices directly from mean, to the v.a. our foundation, the wounded warrior foundation, is very simple. veterans helping veterans. there are a number of organizations like that. veterans helping veterans, we get help each other to
7:55 am
the transition. if you don't have a job, talk to a veteran he does have one. go to one of these organizations who do. get with these organizations and they will help you navigate the v.a.'s problem. we now have a secretary nominated by this president. he comes from a veteran family. he actually comes from a long lineage of veterans. we're hopeful every time we get a nominee that these things will change. we will put our money is where our mouth is. veterans who will focus on veterans helping veterans. i thank you for your time and any questions you might have. host: stanley, you mention the wounded warriors. is that woundedwarriors.org? caller: no, the wounded warrior foundation. is eagle force warrior
7:56 am
foundation. host: the cemetery has been adding about 7000 more each year . at that rate, even if the last open ground and the edges will be put to use, the cemetery will be completely full and about 25 years. the army was to keep arlington going for at least another 150 years. with no room to grow, the only way to do so is to significantly alter some of the rules for who
7:57 am
can be buried. a story focusing on some of those rule changes that are being proposed. if you want to read that, today's "new york times." time for a few more calls about the transition from military to civilian life. henry is in virginia. go ahead. caller: good morning. i served in vietnam, but i find the problem when i got back from vietnam, the problem was, and i went to the hunter homes in the early 1980's, late 1970's, they did not have a clue what ptsd was, understood it at all, so no way you're going to get no treatment from them because you are always deny when he went to ask them for help. but i was fortunate and blessed by god, i guess, to get help. you have to go to somewhere else besides the v.a. system. when the air and space museum first opened up in washington, d.c., they hired a lot of veterans and a was fortunate
7:58 am
enough to get one of those museum.s with the i worked for the federal government since. i still go to the hunter homes. after a few years after president obama went in, they reevaluated me and they tell me with ptsd.isabled but my problem was they should have paid me from the time i first went there. ignorance is no excuse for not knowing. toway, i think veterans need join the american legion. that is a help them in joining groups, dr. other veterans and stuff like the other caller was stating. that is my comment. host: marcia is in pennsylvania. go ahead. caller: hi. i am actually in france right now on the southern coast. year that i am here, i
7:59 am
attend the memorial day ceremony at the american cemetery in the where the attendance is bigger every year. there are 1000 american men, soldiers are buried at the cemetery. a lot of them died when they parachuted into the south of the operation in 1944, the southern landing of the allies onto french soil. there are about 60 for journal organizations -- fraternal organizations that present wreathlaying's at this wreathlaying's at this organization and i've gotten to know french veterans of world
8:00 am
gratefuld they are so and they want americans to know how grateful they are to this day. the health and food and everything the americans gave to help france and europe. survived the and they the bulge ,nclude in the ceremony children from the town and they teach them and i think a lot of americans are unaware that this cemetery is in this town because a lot of americans travel to the south of france. is a beautiful cemetery. host: why do you think it is
8:01 am
important to go every year? caller: it is very important. it is a beautiful ceremony conducted with incredible reverence and remembrance. there are french military, american military, it is one of those rituals that you do to remember. killed -- because i am a coward. when i used to ask my father, --l me what it was like in when you are in the army and he i lived in a hole in the chance to i got the meet damien lewis, the man who
8:02 am
played captain winters and the and he brothers hbo show i metlming someplace and him at the port authority in new he did not look anything like i knew him, and i went up to him and said are you winters because i did not know and he did the time not answer me and i asked him again and then i can do with the correct sentence. i said my father was at the battle of the bulge and then he wanted to talk to me. and's what i have to say
8:03 am
there is a memorial book that to express your impression of the cemetery but all the people that came for the film festival, they could come to the cemetery if they knew it was there but for some reason, even though 1000 american men are buried there, they don't come. it is a 40 minute ride -- 45 minute drive from cannes. host: thank you for bringing that up on the "washington journal." you mention american cemeteries in france. we're going to be focusing on some of the world war i cemeteries in france later in aboutogram, we talk americans in world war i, the
8:04 am
first major battles that americans were involved in. stick around for that discussion. up next, we're going to shift gears. transport topics senior congressional reporter eugene mulero will join us to discuss the kickoff of the u.s. travel season and what it means when it comes to gas prices at the pump. that is next. >> tonight on the communicators,
8:05 am
republican fcc commissioner brendan carr discusses changes in regularly the internet slated for the summer. >> june 11, what happened? >> june 11 is when our net a trolley roles, our rollback of the title to regime goes into effect and on that day, contrary to the rhetoric out there, consumers and not going to see the end of the internet. we are simply going back to the same regime we had back in 2015 and for 20 years before that in which consumers were fully protected. i am very excited about this transition at tried-and-true framework for internet regulation. >> watch the communicators tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. commencement speeches, all this week in prime time. eastern,t 8:00 p.m.
8:06 am
oprah winfrey, representative steve scalise and attorney joe conch and, tuesday at benefactor the metoo movement founder and nikki haley. eastern, at 8:00 p.m. rex tillerson, james mattis, hillary clinton and justin trudeau. thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, tim cook, governor john kasich, governor kate brown and congressman luis gutierrez. on friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, jimmy carter, that the devos, representative mark meadows and atlanta mayor -- this week in primetime on c-span and c-span.org and on the free c-span radio app. washington journal -- "washington journal" continues. host: eugene mulero is back at our desk, senior congressional
8:07 am
reporter for transport topics. this, your headlines is the start of the summer driving season means many more motorists according to analysts. what are the estimates right now for the number of americans that have hit the road this weekend? guest: according to aaa, we have 37 million drivers. that is people that went to the beach, the lake, that went sightseeing, etc.. they are doing so well paying a national average of $2.97 per gallon of gas. that is $.50 more than gas last year. they are expected to climb up a little higher. at this point, they are expecting some stability. places around the country like new york, new jersey, the major
8:08 am
seeing where they are $3.70 a gallon, sometimes hire. in the major cities like new york, some gas stations are already at the five dollar mark. that is nowhere near the average. the analysts you are talking to are looking for a peak in july. why are they rising right now? guest: several reasons. there is extreme consumer demand. people are driving more, nationally. that is credited by some people to the gop tax law that put a little more money in people's pocketbooks. things are not that expensive, so there is still this psyche that the economy is doing well.
8:09 am
another reason why prices are expected to climb is globally, there is a strong demand for crude oil. that is driving the international prices. when you stay on that tangent, you have opec limiting production. that is limiting the supply of crude. eventually comes to this economy and raises prices. we saw a russia and saudi arabia agreed to limit production. everyone -- we saw russia and saudi arabia agreed to limit production. lastly, not to as -- underestimate the u.s. pulling out of the iran nuclear deal, all of analysts and the market is watching to see how this economy responds to sanctions, other eventually iranian oil
8:10 am
will be sidelined. that influx will have a big effect globally. -- wasith america america are relying on iranian oil and that is why prices are going up? guest: not primarily. the u.s. is still producing a lot of oil out of west texas, the shale basins. ationally, the u.s. is seeing strong capacity of output. however, a big concern within how toustry here was transport the oil we get from the dakotas over to the refineries. there is still work to be done according to the industry to get more trucks to transport the crude over to the refineries. that is a big rise in the price
8:11 am
nationally. not relying on iranian oil, but that is something that in the coming months, that could have an effect if it is twinned with a lack about book -- a lack of companies. the opec host: eugene mulero, with us for the next 25 minutes. baby you are traveling right now and seeing gas prices. give us a call and let us know what is happening in your neck of the woods and your questions as we talk about gas prices and summer travel. democrats, (202)-748-8000. , (202)-748-8001. independents, (202)-748-8002. another part of gas prices are the federal taxes that are cooked in. some stats on that right now.
8:12 am
18.4 cents per gallon. there has not been an increase in the federal gas tax since 1993. the tax policy center says if it had been indexed for inflation since 1993, the federal gas tax would be $.31 a gallon for gasoline and $.42 for diesel but it has not. why hasn't it? guest: it has not been raised since 1993. bill clinton was the last president to sign that into law. the dynamics on capitol hill is you have groups that are led by grover norquist which push the republicans to be anti-tax increase. that is the short answer. onlyretch it out is that pressure from the grover arquist group but also
8:13 am
mounting appetite because when they go before the voters during , a primaryes challenger might accuse the incumbent of voting for a tax increase. the fuel tax on capitol hill just became a political football. ironicallye note, not raising the fuel tax has contributed to a lack of money nationwide for infrastructure projects. host: talking about the highway trust fund. guest: correct. federal taxes go primarily to the highway trust fund account and that is used by the u.s. dot to help states repair bridges and roads. it is worth noting that we have 55,000 structurally deficient bridges that need some repair to a lot of repair and money that would come from the fuel tax
8:14 am
which 75% of which goes to roadways, bridges, surface infrastructure, around .5% goes toward transit projects. 25% goes toward transit projects. this goes to the question of how do you help build national infrastructure? suggest --also years, in the coming that would be the ideal time to taking a tough vote on capitol hill on raising the fuel tax and when president trump met with lawmakers and transportation leaders at the white house on february 14, senator tom carper from delaware has been a proponent of raising the national fuel tax and he came out and said that the president did it knowledge that it was worth taking a look at and perhaps the president endorsed a
8:15 am
25 -- a $.25 gas tax increase. of course he has not said that publicly. host: before we leave the issue of taxes, we should note that federal taxes are not the only taxes that go into that final cost of fuel. maybe you can walk through why some states are higher than others. the darker states on this graph showing state fuel taxes that are above 49.5 cents. the blue with states that the tax is between 30 and 49 -- $.30 and $.49. the gray states are the ones that are less than $.30. you have the political establishment, the majority of which want to take money from and to help curb emissions
8:16 am
also use that money for environmental projects. cities that have a lot of congestion tend to have higher fuel taxes. there were states that really resisted that like new jersey. new jersey finally voted to raise their state fuel taxes. they had not done so since the mid-80's. then you have states such as missouri that have not really raised their fuel tax in a while. they just put in a ballot initiative. i believe the legislature is considering a $.10 increase. california, oregon, they look at ways to either persuade people to take more fuel-efficient cars or just reduce their carbon footprint.
8:17 am
host: talking about the cost of gasoline this morning with eugene mulero of transport topics. phone lines, (202)-748-8000 for democrats. (202)-748-8001 for republicans and (202)-748-8002 for independents. we will also get into congestion and some of the recent stats about the most congested junctions in the country. you can start calling in as we start with brenda in indiana, pennsylvania, line for democrats. caller: good morning. i think using one of the excuses of the reason the gas prices go up over the summer is because people are traveling on vacation and i think that is the biggest scams that politicians tell american people every summer. it, you think about millions of school buses drive around the country for nine months out of the year.
8:18 am
months, therer are no school buses and i cannot believe that people traveling on vacation make up the difference of those buses that travel nine months out of the year. second, people going on vacation. just an example, suppose you drive round-trip every day to work, 50 miles. for a week, you have traveled 250 miles to go to work. you take a week vacation and you travel 215 miles to the beach. what's the difference? there has been no extra travel. excuse that people are going on vacation and that is what is making gas prices go because yous a scam have taken all the school buses off the road and traveling to vacation could be very much equal to going to work everyday.
8:19 am
i appreciate her point. i just want to respectfully clarify her perspective. in the summertime, it is more expensive to refine crude oil. differently treated in order to eliminate some of the harmful emissions. the summer treatment is more expensive than the winter treatment. also, when you look at the numbers, i respect where she coming from on the school buses. however, there are way more cars and there are, school buses it is extremely less and in the summer, the demand is not only this weekend but you have some huge holiday weekends in the summer where people drive
8:20 am
because it is still cheaper to drive than to take a train, or fly. you have july 4, labor day. people who skip this weekend because they want to avoid the traffic will probably go to virginia beach or myrtle beach next weekend. it is the economics of the trust -- of the summer driving season that all told, it is what leads to strong demand and the higher prices. host: the regulator you brought up, who is that? guest: that is the federal motor carrier safety administration. they regulate the buses but also the trucks. they are a sub agency of the u.s. dot. they were created in 2000. host: helen in michigan, line for democrats. caller: good morning.
8:21 am
what i wanted to say was the fact that this does hurt the middle class. we have christmas, new year's, thanksgiving and easter. people travel and they drive at those times. this is a tax on the middle class and the poor. it is like my home phone bill. it is $30.99 and i pay $53. that is what a 50% tax. when gas prices go up, so do food prices, but they do not go down. i will see something at the store and one day it is one price and the next day it is 50% more. what point do you start driving less, when you see gas prices hit what number? personally?
8:22 am
i don't think it is fair that people gassed out on a holiday. thanks for the call. this really cuts to the heart of the economics here. the tax on the middle class and the working poor. if gass a theory that prices were to go at a national average or even scratching the four dollar mark, but that would have a significant impact and deter people from driving. buddys analysis firm gas did research where they found half of people surveyed saw the national average right now of $2.97 as too high and they were curbing their options.
8:23 am
they would stay at home, but not only that, if they still had an impetus to go to the beach or whatever, with this family stop at a higher-end restaurant or what they opt for just hot dogs or whatever? the other thing is, this being attacks, that is the political argument on capitol hill from the opponents of raising the fuel tax. cents federal.4 tax, if you were to raise that, it would really -- the big companies, the freight shippers could handle that and the freight industry really supports raising the fuel tax nationally but some lawmakers say this would just target working
8:24 am
families. host: the freight industry, you bring them up and you brought up in your stores the number of people on the road in the holiday season and however -- how it results to loss in production because of bottlenecks. where are the worst bottlenecks? in new jersey, you learn to always avoid the gw bridge and on the jersey side, that is traditionally in the top three congested bottlenecks for trucks or everybody. that is why there was such a big uproar when they had the whole bridge gate with former governor chris christie, because everybody in jersey and new york new with -- knew that why would you mess with the gw bridge? on the jersey side, it is typically in the top three.
8:25 am
number one according to a firm , andded in our article they track this every year and spend the whole year studying traffic analytics. number one was spaghetti junction in atlanta. the intersection of i-85 north. also the chicago loop, a notorious bottleneck. , youave the l.a. freeway have dallas. your usual suspects. if you were ever driving and you are like this is a huge congested area, that is typically your truck bottleneck right there. host: line for independent,
8:26 am
waiting for us in arizona. caller: good morning. i believe that everybody pays attention to c-span all over the world. i am very bigoted. i am going to ask about two or three questions. one of them has to do with the iran situation. when you pull their oil supply out of the market as i believe it is happening and has happened on account of the ruling by mr. andp, then prices go up they are allowed to go up because they pinch the supply. that is in the form of a question. i would like politicians, especially from the republican side that are all for business so they can buy out more of our government, i have a question, why couldn't we have such mandated voting so people could
8:27 am
be interested in their voting would be protected and why don't we have totally funded, totally federally funded and monitored elections, do away with this electoral college because that is colonial times. host: we will stick with the fuel and supply question. eugene's expertise and he is only with us for a couple more minutes. guest: the whole world does in fact watch c-span. he is right about that. , what would happen if their oil is sidelined. goldman sachs has, recently and suggested that president trump can cap the strategic petroleum reserve in response to whatever the strategic petroleum reserve in response to whatever impact -- host: explain what that is for
8:28 am
anyone who does not know. guest: it is 200 million plus barrels, give or take. itould backcheck myself, but is enough to get us through the entire summer season. we developed this as a country after the 1973 embargo, to make sure that if there is a huge disruption internationally, on the supply of crude, that we can buffer the impact for several months, perhaps even a year. the strategic reserve is pretty much an emergency thing. if the iranian impact is not really hindering the economy writ large, there is not a need to tap immediately. if you see prices get to four dollars or even higher nationally, there is going to be huge pressure on the white house to tap that reserve.
8:29 am
the other thing of the caller ,entioned was on voting hopefully i am using the same candidate he was bringing up, if you believe that we should have more federal taxes to pay for infrastructure improvements which would reduce congestion, that would be the idea, then you should vote for lawmakers who are pledging to raise the federal fuel taxes and it is worth noting that 26 states in the last -- in less than a decade have raised their fuel taxes, the majority of which have been republican states. this is not something that is democrat or republican. this is something where if you imageo proponents of after funding, if you make a strong enough case to the voters and outline that money that would be used for the repairs of local bridges, that you will have what we have seen, more
8:30 am
than half of the states go along with an increase. missouri voters will have the opportunity in november to vote on a gas tax increase. guest: there is bipartisan support in missouri for this. if we can go back on congestion, i wanted to bring this up, that the trucking industry actually has studied this, the impact that congestion has on lost productivities -- productivity to the trucking industry is $63 billion. i am talking about freight haulers. amazon, fedex, pepsi-cola. it are not corporate giants, these are companies that have regular people working at their wholesalers, working at the
8:31 am
warehouses in the truck drivers. host: russell have members of the trucking industry calling in during the segments. we would love to hear from you. joe is from new jersey, republican. caller: i live in new jersey and the problem is that they just raised the taxes in new jersey. $.25 a gallon. that money is not going to infrastructure. we have a new governor now. he's another person from goldman sachs. we had that terrific governor, the one that should have been arrested but never got arrested. the problem is, i drive to work every day with a company vehicle. i do 450 to 500 miles a week. the problem is being confidence of the politicians that run things. you can see vehicles stuck on the road for two hours, three hours sometimes, backing up the
8:32 am
highway for miles and miles. they don't have the right people in charge, they have incompetent people, just because maybe they get a college degree, and put them in charge of transportation. in the past, we have people that had come from the services, whether they came from the army or the marines. they used to move vehicles across the country. they would use large-scale movement of vehicles. they don't have them anymore. now they have some kid that graduated from college and they say he knows everything about traffic. as far as raising taxes, it is just another pit to waste money. i am quite familiar with new jersey politics and i never met a neighbor of mine growing up in new jersey who did not
8:33 am
complain about a certain administration, so they were complaining about chris christie, that there was no money for transportation under chris christie. he listened to them, worked with the legislature on a bipartisan basis and he was a very cantankerous governor and they got the fuel tax increase at the state level, the first time i takehe mid-80's, and issue with his impression that the money is not going for infrastructure in new jersey. new jersey is the most congested state in the country, it is a very ethnocentric state, so if you see that your city is getting some improvements in than other people from another city are not getting improvements, you think there is no money to go around, that is not the case.
8:34 am
the delaware memorial bridge is managed by an authority that links delaware with new jersey and on the jersey side, the state has done some improvements. host: wayne is our last caller from traverse city -- traverse city, michigan. caller: what will the oil supplies be in 2030 and the , when i bring that up is i went to college in the late 1970's, they mentioned that we and a limited supply of oil they also said that when they ,ot to the shale up in canada that was one of the last holdouts of oil other than the oceans. i did read a book in regard to that shale up in canada.
8:35 am
was up there said a lot of it was destroyed in the countryside. that is my comment. what will be the supplies in the future, and how are we going to conserve oil? unpack. lot to the oil supply by 2030, analysts estimate we will have sufficient oil by that time. of course by 2030, we are expected to have a lot of autonomous vehicles, fuel-efficient vehicles. so there will be improvements on the consumption of oil. iso getting oil out of shale very environmentally challenging. there is a lot of controversy around fracking. there is expectation that there is going to be better technology to extract that oil but i can't stress enough that we have
8:36 am
already seen radical improvements on fuel efficiency and by 2030, there is an expectation that perhaps everybody is going to be driving electric car which is what one of the top economists at the white house is suggesting. host: a great place to look for news on that front and others when it comes to transportation, transportation topics, ttnews.com. eugene mulero is a senior reporter there. up next on the "washington journal" on this memorial day, we return to the question we begin with, veterans and their family members, we want to hear about the transition from military to civilian life. give us a call if you are a veteran or a family of a veteran. eastern and central time zones, (202)-748-8000. or pacific time zones, (202)-748-8001. you can start calling in now.
8:37 am
coming up at the top of the hour, we are looking back 100 years to america's involvement in world war i in the spring and summer of 1918. soldiers and marines so the first major combat. that withlk about edward lengel, and we will take your calls about the american military in world war i. we will be right back. >> watch our live coverage of the utah senate republican primary debate with mitt romney and state lawmaker mike kennedy.
8:38 am
tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org. listen for free on the free -- listen for free on the c-span radio app. commencement speeches all this week in primetime. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern, oprah winfrey, representative steve scalise, ron rosenstein and -- tuesday at an effect p.m. eastern, clarence thomas, starbucks coo and nikki haley. wednesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, hillary clinton, rex tillerson, james mattis and canadian prime minister james true -- justin trudeau. and on friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, jimmy carter, that the
8:39 am
devos, mark meadows and atlanta's mayor. this week in primetime on c-span and c-span.org and on the free c-span radio app. tonight on the communicators, republican fcc commissioner brendan carr discusses changes in regulating the internet, slated for this summer. >> june 11, what happens? our net11 is when neutrality rules are rolled back and on that day, contrary to some of the rhetoric out there, consumers are not going to see the end of the internet. we are simply going back to the same regime that we had back in 2015 and for 20 years before that, and which consumers were fully protected. i am very excited about this transition.
8:40 am
communicators tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. host: a live shot this morning of the tomb of the unknown soldier at arlington national cemetery. president trump will be at arlington national cemetery at 11:00 today for a wreath-laying ceremony. attendees to that event are starting to arrive, a live shot of the amphitheater. we are taking your calls in the next 20 minutes on the "washington journal" this morning. hearing your stories, from veterans and family members of veterans about the transition from military to civilian life. what worked for you, what programs out there did you use, and what did not work for you? andrew is up first, from massachusetts.
8:41 am
turn down your tv. caller: hold on. hold on one second. i was looking through boxes after my mother died and i found things my father made after he anzio and i was doing this yesterday, watching theshow, talking about protesting of the flags. my father hated the fact that during the vietnam, people were protesting the flag and burning it. one thing that stuck in my head it, het he doesn't like hated it, he thought it was disgusting, but we thought for that right, for those people to
8:42 am
protest against the flag. the first thing the not the they did was to ban dishonoring of the flag, to protest against it and for these football owners and trump to make it illegal, to ban the protesting of the flag is utterly on american -- utterly as my fathers far who served and was wounded four times. host: what did your father do when he came home? he could have collected full disability and he ended up working his entire life, and then when he came to retirement, he had to fight to get his
8:43 am
is utterly and that lowball politicians that make it prove for people who their love of the country by bleeding, just like john mccain did. he gets it whatever he wants and trump can't touch him. mccain, aking of john story from the washington post today on the upcoming hbo documentary about john mccain. monday, the review in the washington post, in his own tribute, he reports for duty. mccain in the picture with this squad mates from the vietnam war. keith is from maryland.
8:44 am
caller: just thought i would give a call in and say happy memorial day to everyone and talk about my transition to civilian life. one of the greatest benefits to the -- to veterans getting back is our g.i. bill and i wanted to quickly say how much it changed my life when i got out and how many doors it open for me. -- opened for me. --bled me to chase my dreams it enabled me to chase my dreams. i thought i would try to throw a little positive. host: when did you serve? caller: eight years in the air force. 2006 to 2014. i was in anchorage, alaska for a while. i finished up in fort meade. host: what did you use the g.i. bill for? guest: i went to school for
8:45 am
culinary arts and now i am finishing up my masters in sustainable agriculture. hopefully trying to start up some programs in the area to get veterans more involved in small-scale farming. host: one of our earlier callers on this topic talked about the idea of veterans helping veterans, not just relying on the va. what are your thoughts on that? there was a lot of personal accountability that goes to that. i amw there is something trying to do, trying to get more veterans interested in culinary arts or cooking or farming because i think we are going to experience with the largest .ransitions in our history farming is an area where veterans can definitely get involved. there are plenty of jobs and plenty of need for veterans and
8:46 am
people that have the motivation they do to get involved and get out there. there is plenty of work for veterans in the area. i think that sometimes they be -- the more we reach out and help each other, the better off we will be, for sure. host: thanks for your call. mac, you are next. [indiscernible] we are hearing of the
8:47 am
medicines that do what? caller: most of the medicines are made in china and we need to do some kind of program on that if you would, please. host: we appreciate the suggestion. andre speaking to veterans the family members of veterans only at this point, talking about the transition from military life to civilian life. michael from florida, go ahead. are you with us? caller: why is it that when that themembers retire government cuts there pays -- their pay in half and cut their housing. they are just pushing pills for the big pharmacies, thank you. host: matthew is in new jersey. good morning. caller: thank you, happy memorial day.
8:48 am
my father fought in world war ii and he passed away a few years ago. i want to say thank god we now have a president who is allowing our veterans to see a doctor when they need to see a doctor instead of waiting in line for months and months and hundreds of them died because they did not have access to care during the last a administration. that the fakeate news media and they are fake did not give president trump the credit he deserves for helping our veterans. thank you. host: what did you think of the secretary and the
8:49 am
process by which he was fired and is being replaced? that ourll i know is veterans are now receiving care when they need it, which is very important. as the details -- to me that is irrelevant. what is important is president trump has done the job to help our veterans. host: robert in indiana, good morning. caller: good morning. i want to thank all the veterans that have fought for this country and are still serving. my dad was in world war ii. stars and heronze never said a thing about having any kind of metals. -- any kind of medals.
8:50 am
my uncle served at the battle of the bulge and took the g.i. bill and went to buy a farm and they were turned down. i think any veteran that serves his country should be entitled to anything they want, when they put their life on the line. i thank god we've got trump trying to help our veterans in our country. these idiot democrats, all they want to do is say no to everything. we need this country straightened out and i think trump is going to do it if these scruples will work with him. dad and hisid your brother and up doing after they could not bind that farm? caller: they have to work to make a living. my dad passed away -- my dad died at 55. i got to spend 25 years with him and he never complained about anything. he did serve his country.
8:51 am
i love my dad and i thank god for him. getst wish people would their act straight and get this country straightened out. we have idiots in washington the don't know a thing about running this country and that we are paying them for doing nothing. few of the front pages from around the country on this memorial day. from the villages down in florida, this is the daily sun. patriotism on display is the headline, showing a picture of the florida national cemetery. the front page in fayetteville, north carolina of the fayetteville observer, a quote from harry truman, our debt to the heroic men and women in valiant service in our country can never be repaired. they have earned our undying gratitude. america will never forget their sacrifices. one more from the front page of the st. louis post-dispatch.
8:52 am
the headline there, a time to honor. logan evers, seven years old scout troop,cub pushing a flag into the ground at the national cemetery on a day. -- on sunday. we are hearing from veterans and families of veterans only. from south carolina, tell us your story. caller: i am calling because i a married to a veteran and lot of veterans are going through medical, social illness where they are unable to maintain marriages and also due to the fact that they gave them something where they are unable productive as far as social engagement with their spouse and they feel that they
8:53 am
are less than a man. i am just saying that they need to help them in this category. host: is there a place that supports spouses of military veterans? is there somebody that you have talked to, or a group that you have worked with? i have i haven't because yet to reach out. it just seems like there are a lot of men that went to the army and now they've come back and they just don't seem to know how spouses orith their their girlfriends. that is a lot of domestic iolence, a lot of abuse and don't know where to go and did not know where to go. my marriage to a veteran ended
8:54 am
up in divorce. host: steve is in illinois. good morning. caller: good morning. i can attest to what the young lady was saying. ptsd.orking on i think the major problem i have is with certain departments reaching out trying to help veterans. a lot of people use this term called case management. granta term they use to veterans health, shelter, employment, things like this. by going through some of these programs, i have seen there are so many that are not really helping veterans. i would like to have someone tried to investigate where the
8:55 am
money is going for these departments and are these departments actually helping veterans, because i was put into a shelter in a very crime infested area ride had to carry a revolver just so i could go to sleep, and i would like someone to investigate and see if anything can be done about putting shelters for veterans in places where they can actually live without worrying about crime and the hostility coming to them because they are already coming out of the military, and they don't need that. it hurts to see them on the street. i question some of the programs saying that they are helping veterans because i don't see evidence of that going on. i appreciate you for having the show. host: joe in pennsylvania, go ahead. to bring just wanted up the fact that people have to
8:56 am
understand that the ultimate sacrifice that many people have made for their freedom. this day and age, with the opioid crisis and people seem to be completely out of it. they don't understand that havee, their loved ones died for their freedom and that they should never waste their life and when it comes to post-traumatic stress, a lot of people, they want to sweep that under the rug or the problems with the v.a. my father kept his world war ii heroism a secret his whole life. years later, i learned he was a national hero. but he was a teacher, a very mild-mannered man who never spoke of the war and he had
8:57 am
shrapnel in his chest. he knew he was going to die life as ahe lived his teacher, helping everybody. parents were depression era, both for teachers and both were honorable humble people that never boasted of all their degrees or this and that. they were loving people. host: what subject did he teach? days, heack in those taught in the public school system of new york city. they talked all subjects and i have met people now between ifferent political groups and still get people who were -- teachers or our
8:58 am
teachers and even the subject they taught, they don't know. when i was a kid, we were at bookstores all over brooklyn, but my father spoke pretty much all european languages somewhat but with the eastern european, he spoke the languages and dialects. when we were kids in 1970, we took a trip to europe and on a teacher's salary. a regular journey here are around but then he got off the beaten path and went into yugoslavia and he starts -- a relative said he is speaking in a different dialect. i imagine that probably had a at to do with his heroism and lot of that he kept secret for his entire life and was very humble about it. host: thank you for telling us
8:59 am
about your father. a few tweets. james writes in that in the military, i thought love with radar and using the g.i. bill for further education, transition into a career as a radar engineer. many of my colleagues have a similar story. bobby wrightson, and memory of those who died in military service, we must demand that all war is truly necessary and worth our young people's lives. respect life. time for a few more of your stories about the transition of you or a family member to -- from military to civilian life. bob in missouri, go ahead. my problem is. i am a 25 year retiree and people talk about having the g.i. bill access. the at have access to
9:00 am
benefits right now, nor do i have a g.i. bill. there was a time, about a five or six year period where there was no g.i.service. host: thanks for sharing your story. that will do it for this segment of washington journal. today is memorial day. we are looking back 100 years to america's involvement in world war i. the spring and summer of 1918, army soldiers and marines saw combat in northeastern france. will talk with the author of thunder and flames: americans in the crucible of combat. we will talk and take your calls about the american military in world war i. first, c-span took a tour of the weather one cemetery in france. we talked with the superintendent about the cemetery and the experience of those who visit it.
9:01 am
[video] >> with visitors as they walked to the gate, a lot of people are struck by how beautiful it is. all of that is true, but a lot of work goes into it but there is history behind the scenes. these sites are maintained a u.s. government, the american battle monuments commission, an executive agency, independent agency of the executive branch. there is at least one american manager at each of the sites. i am the superintendent here but i have a neighbor at about a 25 minute drive. another american superintendent maintains our sister site. it's important for american visitors to realize this is their taxpayer dollars at work overseas to tell the story of what took place here with the memory of the following. all world war i. it is not just the battle of belleau wood.
9:02 am
that is what people are surprised to understand that the cemetery. we are here on the battlefield where primarily the u.s. marine corps took over three weeks of bloody combat in june of 1918. they were relieved a u.s. army troops he continued the fight, many who fell in the field to my left. a beautiful french countryside as it was in 1918. there has always been a connection with the french and americans going back to at least 1918. we could go back to 1776. what is interesting is to see the turnout of the first few more real days with the local community. very high. all the local officials and schoolchildren came out to honor the fallen. it has not changed. last year we had over 3000 here. i know we will have more in 2018. that is a link 100 years on and we have great local community support. ♪
9:03 am
>> we have multigenerational visitors. sometimes employees who work to maintain the sites. their father or grandfather worked at some of these sites. there is a lot of different ways of making the connection. the french have not forgotten what took place here to free them the first time around in 1918. and many world war ii cemeteries are in france and elsewhere. the locals, it is pretty common to see a great local community support for the sites. [bells tolling] >> -- host: this morning we are
9:04 am
looking back 100 years to the first major american engagement of world war i. to do that this morning we're joined by edward lengel, author of "thunder in flames: americans in the crucible of combat, 1917 "o 1918. those military battles took place 100 years ago, but america declared war on germany and will are one in april of 1917. what was happening in the 13 months between that and the battles we are talking about today? guest: we were just not prepared to enter the war. we had no real industrial infrastructure. our army was very small and dispersed over the world. it took quite a lot of time to rain together the first regular army divisions and preparing them, fourth division as well and sending them overseas, training them, getting them equipment.
9:05 am
most of the equipment they used beyond their rifles where french designed, french manufactured. some british as well. giving them overseas was a big issue because of german submarine menace. getting them on the ships, getting them over to europe, and trying to teach them something about how war had changed. differenti was a very kind of war. united states had not fought anything like this before. we needed to have some time to adjust. the first army divisions entered the lines in her -- in relief of french divisions in autumn of 1917. thee were a number of raids germans conducted against the americans. 1917,te in november of april of 1918. we had been on the defensive all during that period, facing off a
9:06 am
few different german attacks. now we are entering onto the offense of. -- offensive. host: how many americans were in france? guest: there were six divisions that had landed. i don't have the number off the top of my head but it's approaching 400,000 to 500,000. host: describe the average american soldier? . who was he? guest: a mixture of regular army, marines of course, national guard and draftees. the draftees are heavily immigrant. america had become an immigrant society. you see many fellows are not naturalized american citizen. they are first or sometimes second-generation immigrants. they are roughly in the early to mid 20's. they are generally very naive. even the draft these, oddly enough -- draft these --
9:07 am
draftees, they are very confident about what they can do. african-american soldiers were segregated into two different divisions, the 92nd and 93rd. you are looking at all white divisions. host: how was the american soldier viewed by french and british allies and by the germans on the other side of the line? guest: the french were a little skeptical. they were not sure we would be able to do what we said we could do. even when the marines and army arrived, some french committed to making snippy remarks. do you think you will be able to do this? the british are slightly skeptical. they are happy to have the manpower at the front. the germans are taking a wait and see approach. they think the americans will try to win newspaper successes for publicity purposes. the germans will try to embarrass our troops for the same reason. 1918, what did we say
9:08 am
we were going to do? guest: our first, second and third divisions, particularly second and third were rushed to the front in may 1918. the germans had launched an offensive. they had broken through the french lines. there was a sense of panic and emergency. we wanted to get to the front as soon as possible to stop and hold the germans. general pershing and french commanders are saying now we need to stop the germans and then we need to launch at least a couple of successful offenses the show we had the hitting power to hit them back. host: it was john pershing? guest: commander of the americans fiduciary forces. -- expeditionary forces. he was a regular army officer, a man who lives by willpower. he was under a lot of pressure at this time. his whole family had been killed in a fire just before the war
9:09 am
began in 1918. he is aor his son, rigid and i will individual who is determined to build a fully american army under american command to show we have the ability to do this. so we can acquire a seat at the peace table. host: a fully american army under american command. whether people who wanted to take command of the army? guest: the french and british army have this idea called amalgamation, where americans will be put into french and british uniforms and fight under their command. we would not stand for that. woodrow wilson would not accept that, but he did have the compromise. belleau wood was an example of that. he had to send divisions and brigades and sometimes regiments and companies to the front to serve under french or british command for a time. they are wearing their own
9:10 am
uniforms, still fighting under their own officers directly but under overall friends were british command. host: where the allies winning the war? guest: they were definitely back on their heels. difference in the gun -- the germans have begun a number of offenses in march and april of 1918 where the allies thought they had their backs to the wall and it was a chance the germans would split apart the french and british armies, drive to the coast. by the end of may 1918, the german offenses are beginning to slow down. there is no german drive on paris at this point. the germans are simply trying to create conditions where they can launch a more effective offensive later on. it is kind of a tipping point. i would not say the germans are exactly winning, but the allies have not yet reached the point where they can contemplate an overall strategy to defeat the germans. guest: we are --
9:11 am
host: we are talking to edward lengel. for the rest of our program today until 10:00 on aboun in c-span3 -- and3 -- and c-span3 about the first american engages a world war i. if you are in the eastern or central time zone, (202) 748-8000. mountain and pacific time zones, (202) 748-8001. a special line for active duty and veterans, (202) 748-8002. you can start calling in now. edward lengel, take us through the first major engagements where american troops were committed in may of 1918. guest: the first major engagement, and the first significant american battle in europe ever was 100 years ago today at the battle of canteen
9:12 am
ini. they launched an assault with french support to attack this german held village. they are very successful today in capturing that village. however after the catch of the village, the germans want to counterattack from number of different directions and yearly break the first divisions lines. . in onered one holds on sector second and third division troops are being rushed to the front along the river where they judge the point of this german offensive is pushing in the direction of paris. the third division is the first actual to enter combat around a little town. right on the marne river. the troops fighting the germans and stopping apart from senegal and africa -- in africa. they be that the germans at the
9:13 am
chateau, but american machine gunners into into combat and support the senegalese and slow down the german offensive. host: on a hill overlooking the sizeds a lincoln memorial monument to the americans who fought in the region. c-span visited that monument and talked with historians about the monument and the american experience. [video] >> directly behind me is the monument. we are on top of hill 204. the hill was 204 meters high. the significance is to honor the american troops who fought in the sector. there was significant engagement in between the rivers. from the end of may through the
9:14 am
middle of july of 1918. on the opposite side from the monument are two women holding sons,in honor of their brothers, uncles and fathers who risked their lives in the area during the war. host: edward lengel, we have focused on cantini and the chateau. the fighting that took place at you are talking about, most people probably think of trench warfare from the think of world war i. was that have any in these spots? guest: not at all. when anyone talks about americans going over the top in the first world war, they are certainly wrong because americans did not fight for the most part from trenches, from entrenchments. they were on the move. they were fighting a war of movement either in rushing to
9:15 am
the defense of a certain point quickly, or they were on the attack. monument.a beautiful it's a very interesting story of the battle that took place during bella would. -- belleau wood. the americans are fighting in the open, which was pershing's idea. we should move back into the open, into the war movement. host: into the open. good americans have the earliest tanks? guest: we had some french tanks designed and built in france. they entered into combat under american command under george patton command -- george s. patton's command. at this point they are french tanks. host: what went right for
9:16 am
americans in the first major engagements they were involved in and what went wrong? guest: what is astonishing to me was quality of the troops. whether they were marines were soldiers, they were very aggressive. they were very determined. they fought very hard. the germans thought the americans should just give up. we did not give up. even draftees fought tooth and nail. what did not go well with the tactics were very primitive. we had not learned as much as we thought we had. our assault tactics, we would attack indents waves as the marines did on june 6 and take terrible casualties. host: we will talk about one of the situations in particular coming up in this hour. today we are focusing on the 100th anniversary of the first major american engagements of world war i, taking place this
9:17 am
month in 1918. taking your calls as well. eastern and central time zones, (202) 748-8000. the mountain or pacific time zons, (202) 748-8001. a special line for active duty and veterans, (202) 748-8002. we want to hear your questions and comments as we talk about world war i with edward lengel, they author of "thunder and flames." bernie from howard beach, new york. you are on with edward lengel. caller: good morning. i'm hoping you can help me with two questions. one is did the french and the germans who were always planning for war for a very long time, did they ever talk or sit down and discuss and see if they could resolve their problems? the other question is, the zimmerman letter was sent to
9:18 am
mexico. the question i have is, why did the german think the united states would come into the war given all the slaughter that have already occurred? thank you very much. guest: to answer your first question, there was a sense of inevitability in europe that there was going to be a major war, leading right up to 1914. the germans assumed it, the french assumed it, the british and others all assumed it was going to happen. that was really important in making the war actually happen. yes, the french and germans did talk to each other. there was some crises before 1914 there were diffused, but they all assumed it was going to happen. in terms of the zimmerman telegram, the germans certainly hoped the united states would not enter into the war, but there was a sense the americans were already pro-allied for the most part.
9:19 am
the americans were already providing a lot of financial aid to the british and french. the germans felt like the americans were belligerents at all but fact. they assumed it would take us a long time to get ready. they were willing to take the gamble to resume unrestricted submarine warfare, to start sinking our ships, and to send the zimmerman telegram. there was a sense they thought the americans would enter into the war, but if they do, it will take so long to get to the front that we will be able to win before they get there. host: on twitter on the american history tv page, and ongoing poll that will close at the end of the program today on this issue of america getting involved in world war i. was the u.s. involvement necessary? some 17,000, 18,000 votes at this point. wassaying yes, it
9:20 am
necessary in world war i. 35% saying no. join the conversation or give us a call on our various phone lines. eastern and central time zones, and pacific time zones, and one line for active duty veterans. bob, go ahead. caller: i was wondering how reluctant president woodrow wilson was to enter the war. guest: woodrow wilson is so interesting in this way. he was born before the civil war in virginia, in stanton, virginia. there was a wonderful quote i can't remember off the top of my head, but he says i saw that the civil war did to the south and the shenandoah valley. if i supported a declaration of war, i'm not the one who has to go off and fight. woodrow wilson had only daughters so he did not even
9:21 am
have to think about sending his sons to fight. he felt so heavily this personal burden, a moral burden because he was such a moralistic individual. if it is a declaration of war, he felt personally responsible. he felt after the germans resumed unrestricted submarine warfare he had no choice. particularly after the zimmerman telegram. host: good morning. you are on with edward lengel. caller: how are you this morning? i will try to make this quick. ead theck pershing l fourth army in 1980. he made it clear black soldiers were inferior to whites.the french ignored his statement . these black soldiers from harlem with a harlem hellfighters. may 4, the first hero of world war i and his comrade were surrounded by germans.
9:22 am
they were spotted by snipers and the charts by over 20 germans trying to cross the line. henry johnson, by himself, wounded up to 20 germans and killed four. it took until 2005 for president obama to award him the medal of honor. any inschumer pressed m the administration to get him more for his efforts. he died penniless. ofended up getting all kinds movies and never the house, sergeant york. i hope your book covers henry johnson. thank you. guest: racism was a major problem in the united states in world war i. i have studied military history throughout the period of the united states.
9:23 am
i have never seen a period where racism was more profound. african-american soldiers were treated terribly in the united states armed forces in 1917 and 1918. there were two african-american divisions. that's an accurate story of henry johnson. moved todivision was french command because pershing did not want it. the french treated these troops as what they were, has good troops, effective troops. they fought bravely, with great honor. the french used them in places like the champagne region. they fought very well. there was another african-american division that was kept under american division with all white officers. that division did not do so well because it was so poorly commanded. the troops wanted to fight but they were not well commanded. they had some bad episodes and a
9:24 am
number of american officers said, look, you see with the 92nd division did? this is proof blacks can't fight, which was an absolute lie. the experience of african-americans in world war i is so important and only recently that the bravery of these men and the honor with which they served has been acknowledged. host:may 1918 in june 1918. we mentioned the battle of the lowood -- belleau wood. above the cemetery on that site today is part of belleau wood. c-span signator that battlefield in surrounding memorial on a strip to france last year. [video] >> we are standing right in the streetf belleau wood, and after the battle which ended on june 20 6, 1918. -- june 20 6, 1918.
9:25 am
-- june 26, 1980. 918.e is no -- 1 in 1955, they dedicated this monument. it's the archetype of a marine. the is looking tough with his shirt off. there were two regiments of marines that fought in this area, the fifth and six marines. they were part of the second u.s. division, and army division during that period. they lost almost 10,000 wounded and killed. about 1800 of those marines were killed. , take usard lengel through how the battle of belleau wood unfolded in its significance. guest: the second division, when army brigade, wondering brigade
9:26 am
is moved up to the marne river at the beginning of june of 1918. it is committed by an army general, omar bundy. even the marine brigade is committed by army general, james harvard. the french commander in the region, as well as pershing and others say as soon as the second division gets here we need to throw it into the attack against this place called belleau wood. there is one important thing to note. the german offensive was already slowing down. the germans were not driving to capture paris. they had slowed down. this was an opportunity for the americans to show what they could do. 18, the marines are again with army support is thrown into belleau wood. it is a disaster in many ways because harvard neglected to use
9:27 am
tactics available. he just threw the marines into the woods without adequate preparation. they took terrible casualties on the first day. that one day, the bloodiest day in marine corps history up until that time and would remain the bloodiest day right up to the tarawa of terrible -- in world war ii. they kept attacking and fighting, with support from the army. but the germans were well dug in, interlocking fields of fire. it was very difficult terrain. it became a slugging match perfectly. it's of the whole month of june. it just lasted week after week after week. there are incredible stories during that time in that battle in june when the marines broke through the particular -- through the main german line.
9:28 am
army troops are put into belleau wood. the seventh regiment from the third division was put into belleau wood in june, and the army brigade supporting it. it just lasted on and on. it remains one of the most brutal battles in the history of our country. host: one of the chapters in your book about belleau wood is "gas and exhaustion." can you talk about the use of poison gas on the battlefield? guest: proportionately american suffered more casualties from gas than any other country. a lot of it has to do with lack of preparation and understanding what poison gas can do. the germans attacked a number of times in the spring, but belleau wood the germans would pull back their troops and simply saturate the woods with mustard gas, which is just the nightmares concoction. it can burn you all over, get into your lungs, burn your skin.
9:29 am
the was "inhabitable. -- on inhabitable. -- unave a little. habitable. it was physically exhausted. host: what is the weather like in northeast france? guest: ironically it is hard to tell much of the time because they are deep in these woods and the gas and smoke is permeating everything. it was reasonably decent weather. at times it was pouring down rain, which is good if you're facing gas attacks. but it's a fairly mild, peaceful period in terms of the weather. host: about 30 minutes left in this discussion with edward lengel. we are talking about the first
9:30 am
american major engagements of world war i. hour washington journalis -- on this hour of washington journal, a special-interest mon -- a special line this morning for active duty veterans, (202) 748-8002. for eastern and central time zones, and on the pacific time zone set special lines. ken, good morning. caller: how are you all? i was looking at the previous program where they were discussing the american monuments to world war i. they were all dedicated in the 1920's and 1930's. i was wondering if the nazis made any attempts to destroy these monuments host: guest: that's an excellent question. most of the money was the germans left in world war ii as they were. there were a couple of exceptions. there was a monument to the
9:31 am
first americans killed in action at a different sector of the front that the germans blew up because in the inscription on the monument it made some reference to german imperialism, or the evil of the german cause and world war i. the germans were not going to stand for that. there was another monument placed to african american troops sometime after the war. the germans blew that up as well. for the most part, if they were showed whatts that wassaw on hill 204, there no political statement in the germans left alone. int: steve and virginia? -- virginia? caller: i wonder if you could talk about a particular monument presented to general pershing after world war i and the
9:32 am
unveiling of the monument and the controversy as a result of the unveiling. hopefully you'll know what i'm talking about but i can send you more if you need some background. guest: please tell me more. i'm not quite sure which one you are referring to. understandingmy that there was a victim to do about the unveiling of the monument of a fighting soldier. when they unveiled the monument, general pershing's dismay and monument of was a the fighting ring -- marine from world war i. he was not a happy camper. guest: i remember what you're talking about health. pershing's attitude towards the marines was a little bit ambivalent. during belleau wood can immediately after belleau wood, pershing was certainly
9:33 am
supportive of giving credit to the marines, but he was sensitive to the fact there were a number of people in the army hierarchy who were angry and felt the marine for getting too much attention, too much credit. at the unveiling of this monument and a marine appearing in the monument, i don't think pershing was angry so much. i think it was more a matter it was politically awkward. about the armyd being mad at him frankly. managing careful about the relations between the marines and the army, which frankly were not very good during this war. host: the headline from the long island herald about a monument that will a welder one centennial designation, the doughboy monument in lynbrook. where did that turn come from for world war i troops? guest: no one is really sure where it comes from. it may even date from the civil
9:34 am
war. there are people who point out the dough boys love doughnuts. if you look at pictures of salvation army girls handing out doughnuts to the american troops and world war i, they ate thousands of them. i think the most reasonable story i've heard is it dates from the period of the mexican expedition in 1960. pershing -- 1916. pershing was leading troops looking for parts of the year. all this white dust rode up from the ground and the houses. give me to look like they were made out of dough. host: george in houston? caller: good morning. i watched the military channel.
9:35 am
tv, they televised it. how is it possible for them to film it? if i'm in the war, i want have a camera in my hand. i will have a gun. how is it possible for them and orld war i that cameraman, whoever was filming events to survive that war? guns and bombs and everything dropping. guest: that's a really good question. there were american war correspondents serving at the front. there was a fellow named floyd gibbons from the chicago tribune who was alongside the marines and was severely wounded at belleau wood. in terms of cameraman, they were not actually usually allowed at
9:36 am
the front during filming -- during the actual course of battles. they were not particularly allowed the film attacks. some of the film's supposedly of attacks are actually fake. they are staged. corpss. army signal photographers and cameramen were right behind the front. in some cases they would film troops just as they were leaving the battlefront. when the lost battalion came out of the muse argonne, there was a camera crew right outside the argonne forest filming them as they walked out, filming several medal of honor recipients, but not in combat for the most part. host: after this program on c-span3, we will show a silent from from france -- film france recorded in 1918. world war i scholars will be talking over the film in explaining the action you are seeing on the screen.
9:37 am
for those of you on c-span3's american history tv, that happens at 10:00 this morning. until then we're talking with edward lengel about the 100th anniversary of the first major american engagements of world war i. ray in south carolina, you were up next. caller: yes, i appreciate your program this morning. i appreciate your work. guest: thank you. caller: i grew up hearing stories from my great-grandfather about serving in the cavalry in world war i. you if the ask stories he told me were true. that theyold saddle rode horses on, and they would and behind the french tanks support the infantry.
9:38 am
i wanted to hear your comments on that. guest: there was certainly cavalry right behind the front and in the vicinity of the firing lines. there were no actual american cavalry attacks for a very good reason. they would not have succeeded. the french and british synopses calorie and attacks after 1914. they were held as a potential reserve in case there was a breakthrough, that cavalry could exploit any breakthroughs in the enemy lines. there were cases where u.s. force soldiers did -- horse soldiers came under fire in a support role. not in any major battles but it's possible the stories he it sounds like they could be true of being under fire. host: mike in tampa, florida, a veteran. caller: good morning. served in the british army in the first world
9:39 am
war. hamish langdon. he was awarded the kings corporal designation for bravery in combat. that is just an aside to mention him. if you could please give us a rundown as to the casualty count in each of these countries during the first world war. german, french, british and so on. thank you. guest: speaking broadly -- i can't remember exactly. host: i have the figures for you. germany, about 2.1 million world war i military deaths. russia, 1.8 million military deaths. french, 1.4 million military deaths. austrian-hungry, 1.1 million.
9:40 am
885,000 military deaths. united states, 117,000. guest: the united kingdom figure would include both british and dominion troops, including australia, new zealand and the rest. keep that in mind. american battle deaths in the 50,000, on the realm of but keep this in mind. a lot of people will say we were only involved in the war very late. we did not fight very much more very hard. if you look at the period of the muse argonne in 1918, in three weeks about 26,000 young american soldiers and marines were killed. in three weeks. keith that in mind to proportion to our other wars.
9:41 am
that's about half the total killed in korea. half the total killed in vietnam. the time we were at the front we were involved in very heavy fighting from spring to the fall of 1918. host: some more numbers to throw at you. 4.7 million american soldiers served in world war i. about 117,000 deaths. 53,000 battle deaths. deaths classified as other deaths. explained the other deaths could be. guest: from disease. they would have been from different forms of sickness, accidents, things like that that happened in the course of any military operation. those things were always going on behind the lines. here is something important to keep in mind, and those in the audience that ancestors in the
9:42 am
war will understand what i'm saying. gas casualties, poison gas casualties were vastly underreported. men tens of thousands of gone with a cover just a whiff of poison gas that would damage their lawns. they would call for a while and sale not report this. it is not going to be that bad. i want to stand in front. they did not reported and then they go home and they find their lawns are very -- lungs are very badly damaged. you find them dying sometimes 5, 10, 20 years after the war. nobody has taken a tally of that, but i would say the american casualties from world war i are somewhat higher than that. possibly by the realm of 30,000 to 50,000 higher if you count the underreported gas casualties. host: chico, california. good morning. caller: after my grandfather's
9:43 am
two sons enlisted, one of the army and one in the navy at the age of 46 he decided he was going to enlist. he did, but even though he was too old they made him a mess sergeant. all the fellow soldiers would call him dad because he was so much older than them. a poetryw, he wrote reminiscencesad's and ruminations." it was stories about his experiences in world war i and at a younger age. i i think a lot of the -- i think a lot of the soldiers died from the flu also, isn't that true? guest: yes, that is true. especially towards the summer
9:44 am
and fall of 1918 from the influenza epidemic, which of the germans very hard incidentally. what you have got in that book of poems is a treasure. the american literature of this war was actually very important. there are some wonderful american memoirs, wonderful poetry. many american soldiers also kept diaries at the front. it was illegal but they kept them anyway and they would write down records of their experience. anyone who has any of these diaries or letters, i strongly encourage you to take very good care of them. way too many are being lost. host: we show the viewer's the pictures of the american cemeteries in france. some 40% of those americans who died overseas in world war i state in france. 60% brought home for burial. have you ever been to one of the cemeteries? guest: yes.
9:45 am
a lot of people don't know the largest american military cemetery in europe is not at omaha beach, but a place called roman, a world war i cemetery for troops killed enemies are argonne.n the the muse there are americans of all different acronyms and denominations -- backgrounds and the nominations. -- de nominations. by my experience, and it's been a few years, the people who lay flowers of these graves, the one to pay tribute these grants are french, british, belgium, germany. you almost never see americans at the cemetery, the biggest in europe. except for military groups to come from germany or other
9:46 am
military bases. america's just don't go there. to me that is a shame. it really needs to be something that if you go to france, you should go to the battlefields. host: one c-span visited france last year we chatted with the superintendent of the american cemetery and talked about americans visiting the cemeteries and the idea of goldstar pilgrimages. [video] >> the u.s. government gave the a choiceof the fallen to bring remains home. for those who chose not to bring them home and give them overseas, they were provided the choice to come over in the early 1930's to visit their headstones. they did some shopping and other things that were non-war related. that was over four different
9:47 am
summers from 1930 to 1933. i don't know alternately how ,693 came to this site but 6 women came on that trip. men were not eligible. they often call it the gold star mother pilgrimages because it was often mothers. these are desegregated, integrated sites. there are black soldiers buried next to white soldiers, next officers, all states. ofre were gold star groups african-american women. they were still segregated during the pilgrimage is as well -- pilgrimages as well. they were still providing the ability to come over, but they were still segregated at that point. host: edward lengel? guest: this is a place for
9:48 am
pershing deserves a lot of credit. andnsisted blacks and jews other denominations not be separatedn or ethnic groups not separated. he wanted them all mixed together. blacks and white, jews, christians, muslims, nonbelievers to the next without distinction in the cemeteries -- to be mixed without distinction. it is such a moving experience. it is such a beautiful place to go, any of these cemeteries. host: 10 minutes left with edward lengel. taking your calls as we focus on the first major american engagements of world war i. mclean, virginia? theer: i need to know if
9:49 am
sikhs -- when india was brought into the war. who brought them? is there a cemetery in roman, france, or some other place? is there a list of the soldiers who died in that war? guest: there were troops on the indian subcontinent who fought in world war i. they thought largely under british commands. they fought in the middle east but also many of them fought in france. i have to be honest, i'm not ieksrely sure whether s fought on the western front. they were very important in world war ii. whether the british used them in world war i, i don't know, that they would not be buried at roman. they would be memorialized in other ways on british fronts such as the somme. host: those numbers on military
9:50 am
deaths in world war i. germany losing 2.1 million soldiers, military deaths. russia, 1.8 million. france, 1.4 million. austria-hungry, 1.1 million. the british empire with several hundred thousand deaths. 885,000. deaths the united states with 117,000 military deaths. dave in florida, a veteran. , what percentage of all the casualties is given for injuries or deaths related to disease, the hygiene? there wasn't any. the battlefields were mud and
9:51 am
trenches. the last they took my spanish flu thunder. -- lady took my spanish flu thunder. the appalling conditions the troops fought under withn no medical, i think that accounted for quite a few of the total deaths. would you comment on that please? guest: i will point out first of all the army medical services and the navy as well did a wonderful job in caring for the american troops in this war. i don't want to disparage them. the technology that was available and the resources available simply were not there. they did not know how to handle influenza. they did not have had a handle psychological combat stress, or what they called shellshocked. that was another area where casualties could be considered much higher than what is actually reported.
9:52 am
fortunately for the americans, they did not have to fight for month after month, year after year in the trenches like the french and british and german's s did. you don't see nearly as much trench foot or other trans-related diseases. most americans are catching things that went through camp. in terms of the percentage, i can't recall off the top of my head. we had the relative figures given a little earlier. they were not as great as they could have been. you see that for the germans, french and british the overall proportion of casualties from disease are much higher than they are for the americans. host: was the biggest killer artillery? was it bullet wounds? guest: the myth is that it was machine guns, but it is actually artillery by far that causes the greatest number of casualties. host: what about the comparison
9:53 am
to tanks and planes as a percentage? guest: very small. useds were ysed largely -- largely for observation and spotting for artillery. as the americans attacked in the muse argonne, the germans are good at this. they were buzzing over the battlefield and spotting for their own artillery which is extremely accurate. tanks are used in a number of engagements, largely in the fall. not having any profound effect in terms of the course of the battle, but certainly as a learning process. here is a technology we might be able to use effectively in the future, for there was no strategic bombing or major tank battles under american command during the war. host: kathleen from florida, good morning. caller: my father served in
9:54 am
world war i. i am the youngest of his children. he was 17 years old. he had run away from home. one of the things he said as they were ill-prepared. when they were preparing in texas, they had to use broomsticks because they did not have enough guns. he was wounded. he was embedded with the french and received a battlefield promotion. he was supposed to go to west point. they found out healing with the fifth rights of the sentence of the french military academy and he received his commission, and then went on to serve. there is his oral history of world war i at northeastern university. they came out to our house for almost a whole year interviewing him before he died. guest: thank you. there are a couple of things. using broomsticks or wooden rifles is absolutely true. americans often had these replacements for actual rifles, machine guns, dummy cardboard
9:55 am
tanks simply because they do not have them. the second part of your father fighting a different command, that is something maybe not as well known by many americans. we talked about hill 204. we saw the monument next to belleau wood. theas a u.s. army regiment, 30th regiment from the third division that followed the french embedded with the french while the marines were attacking belleau wood. these army and french troops captured hill 204 right next door working together. it's a very important part of the world war i story. host: william, a veteran in albany, georgia. caller: during the battle of belleau wood with all the heavy casualties occurred, what was the great registration process? how do they get killed soldiers off the field? tost: it was very difficult evacuate casualties from belleau
9:56 am
wood. the marines are fighting there over the first two to three weeks. marines, like army, they don't want to leave their debt behind. when you are in the woods filled with smoke and poison gas and the attack is going back and forth, many troops were simply left in the woods and remained there for two to three weeks until the end of june when the woods were captured. then troops, largely african-americans were brought in to try to find these dead marines and soldiers to identify them and bury them in temporary battlefield grades which -- graves which remained through 1920 when they were disinterred and moved to more permanent cemeteries. host: george in middletown, new york, a veteran.
9:57 am
amler: hi and george -- i george and i'm a korean war veteran. i served as a combat military picture photographer. i have two questions. two comments. woodrow wilson, a pacifist. harry truman, a veteran of world war i in artillery, which was the main killer. iw it affected the world war -- the french were there and the allies were working. in korea, you had years to work up to president truman. he had to do this in weeks. we suffered terribly in the first couple of months until we landed at inchon. i was interested in your comment about combat photography. so many of them were staged. when i was there we were just taking hill after hill. recouping argument is a terrible
9:58 am
retreat. it was very terrible. we lost a lot -- i lost a couple of conrad's there -- comrads there. guest: there is one heart-wrenching story i would like to share that is probably representative. the lost battalion fought in the fall. they were surrounded and attacked by the germans on all sides. two medal of honor recipients were heroes of this battle. they were filmed as they came out of the forest by the army signal corps, but there is a sense that was not enough. they were pressured in 1919 to go back to the battlefield where they had fought and lost so many of their friends to film a silent movie, complete with romance scenes and other silliness about this battle that could be broadcast for americans back in the united states.
9:59 am
imagine if you're a veteran being told to go back to the scene were you thought and act out what happened. it was an incredibly traumatic experience for so many of them. motion picture technology had just come out. to give this to the american people was so strong at the time. host: something you cover in your upcoming book? guest: i focus in that book on mcmurtry and alvin york. and damon runyon, the great journalist to write about them. host: so much scholarship in world war ii. why did you study world war i? --st: it's a very personalw it is a very personal war, and intimate war. so many have the person it's about slaughter and death. there are many men who died there, but if you look at the
10:00 am
experiences of the individuals, the soldiers, marines, black and white as well as women and others who participated, to get some understanding of what it means to face the unexplainable, the unprecedented, and how do you get through really appreciate your time this morning. c-span3,or viewers on american history tv or continue the discussion on world war i with our real america series. you will see a film recorded in france and 1918 and listen to the scholars explain the action on-screen. c-span,ers on continuing on here on the wasn't internal, tomorrow morning we will be joined by jeff weaver, the bernie sanders presidential campaign manager.
10:01 am
we will also be joined by mark holden to talk about criminal justice reform. mark holden works with freedom partners. we will have that discussion tomorrow morning. i hope you join us starting at 7:00 a.m. i hope you have a great memorial day. thank you for watching. >> throughout this memorial day, c-span's cameras will be visiting the memorials around washington, d.c. here is a look at the iwo jima memorial. the statue depicting one of the most famous incidents of world war ii, which took place on the small island of iwo jima.
10:02 am
the memorial is dedicated to all marines who have given their lives. president eisenhower dedicated this memorial in 1954 on the --ine corps's 107th we're looking at the grounds on this memorial day.
10:03 am
10:04 am
10:05 am
10:06 am
>> taking a look at that you are jima memorial. -- iwo jima memorial. dayflag flying 24 hours a 365 days a

26 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on