Stories on Veterans’ Opoid Use, Russia-U.S. Ties in ISIS Fight, SEAL Team 6 win Military Reporters and Editors Awards

WASHINGTON – The Military Reporters and Editors association has awarded its journalism prizes for 2015-2016 to reporters and photographers for stories on veterans’ lack of health care, World War II, Seal Team 6, the complex history of Russia-U.S. relations, problems with military survivors’ benefits and more.

The Joe Galloway Award: Mark Brunswick, Brian Peterson, Mark Vancleave, Matt DeLong. “A Battle With Pain” outlined a Department of Veterans Affairs decision to abruptly stop providing pain killers to veterans with chronic pain, that backfired for hundreds of veterans. Many veterans were left to desperately fend for themselves. Some died.

The James Crawley Award: James Rosen, McClatchy Newspapers. “Not Since World War II have U.S., Russia bombed same country” chronicled and explained the uneasy alliances, shifting military aims and broad ambiguities between the two countries in a series of stories, including one on Russia and the U.S. bombing the same country for the first time since World War II.

TV-Large Market: Michael Gargiulo, WNBC. The winner of this award went to Fort Leonard Wood to interview an Army engineer is about the unique ties he found between his experience in Afghanistan and that of a World War II soldier, which he discovered when he was assigned to catalogue boxes of “Letters” and memorabilia donated by the WWII combat engineer’s family.

TV-Small Market: Jodi Mohrmann, WJXT-TV4. Mohrmann’s series on veteran’ businesses highlighted transitioning military showed the skills that veterans offer but also provided a glimpse into their lives and dreams.

Print-Large Circulation, Domestic Coverage: Mark Mazzetti, Micholas Kulish, Christopher Drew, Serge F. Kovaleski, Sean Naylor and John Ismay, The New York Times. “SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines” This deeply reported story brought to light the transition of this unit into “a global manhunting machine with limited outside oversight.”

Print-Small Circulation, Domestic Coverage: John Donnelly
, CQ Magazine. “Families of the Fallen Shorted” described how dozens of military families were annually shortchanged of their survivor benefits after their loved ones died in the line of duty.

Print-Large Circulation, Overseas Coverage: Kevin Maurer, TakePart. “Hunting Joseph Kony” provides a look at how the American military is trying to pre-empt the spread of terrorism in Africa by sending troops to work with villages and community officials, building rapport while also creating friendships that could help in future intelligence gathering, force protection and counterterrorism generally.

Print-Small Circulation, Overseas Coverage: Barrie Barber, Dayton Daily News: “From Dayton to Bagram” provides behind-the-scenes look at an aeromedical evacuation and cargo hauling mission from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to Afghanistan and back.

Photography-Large Market: Josh Smith, Reuters, “Afghan troops photo essay.”

Photography-Small Market: David Paone, Bayside Times. “Remembering the Surrender.”

Online: James Kitfield, Politico Magazine, Yahoo News, Breaking Defense. The stories on American jihad, narcoterrorism, Gen. Martin Dempsey and Mike Flynn represent a range of in-depth reporting that enlighten and engage readers on these extremely important topics in the inimitable deep dive style that is a hallmark of Kitfield.

Radio: Scott Maucione, Federal News Radio. “The Army Is Short-Changing Its Future Force” is a two-part series that details how some highly talented Army officers are being involuntarily discharged to trim the force, part of a failing talent management system.

Commentary: Susan Katz Keating, U.S. Defense Watch. In her essay “Sleeping With the Enemy: Chance Encounter at Sea Gives Fan Renewed Hope for Beleaguered Army Football,” Keating chronicles her effort to get Navy Football Coach Ken Niumatalol to let Army win a game.

Student Project: James LaPorta, University of North Carolina Wilmington, the seahawk,org. “Is a UNCW policy unknowingly jeopardizing national security by violating federal law?” showed good use of a FOIA request to look at the problem of UNCW copying military IDs or DD-214 documents to give military or veterans special parking permits in possible violation of a law prohibiting such copying.