Army photo by D. Myles Cullen

The military is facing a growing recruiting crisis: 71% of Americans between 17 and 24 can’t meet the minimum criteria for service, which places the burden of service on an ever-small and shrinking pool of troops with a family history of joining the military.

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AP Photo by Robin Scholz

For rural veteran Mickey Ireson, appointments at the Department of Veterans Affairs are a source of apprehension and stress, rather than relief. In early April, the former Marine infantryman received a call from the VA telling him that his evaluations for mental health and dental work had been scheduled at the Omaha, Nebraska, office.

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