Southern Colorado is no stranger to the armed forces. With a collection of military installations, it’s not uncommon to see uniformed men and women around Colorado Springs and beyond. This month, we take a look at some of the issues concerning the military, from the very worst, to perhaps, some of the very best.

You can download the entire episode here, or listen online:

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You can also head to the individual segments for full audio and available online extras by clicking on any of the links below:

Reading: Dave Philipps
Roundtable: Mental Health at Fort Carson
Mountainside Pterodactyl
USAF Proposes Low-Altitude Flights
The Ghost Army and Local Artist George Vander Sluis

Western Skies is a collaboration between KRCC News and The Big Something.


Reading: Dave Philipps
(as previously appearing in The Big Something)

Dave Philipps Reading from Lethal Warriors

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Dave Philipps Interview at KRCC

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Local journalist and author Dave Philipps read at Colorado College from his book Lethal Warriors about the 506th Infantry Regiment (aka the Band of Brothers) at Fort Carson and the deadly results of a lack of effective support and treatment had on a particular group of soldiers who saw some of the harshest combat conditions in the Iraq War. Here he reads the opening pages of the book and talks about the effect the book had on Army’s approach toward the condition now most commonly known as post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.


Roundtable: Mental Health at Fort Carson

The military has instituted sweeping reforms to address issues of post-traumatic stress disorder and behavioral health. Philipps notes in his book that the vast majority of soldiers returning from war do not see the inside of a jail cell. But he writes, the murders committed by members of this one brigade were so startling as to warrant further examination and action. It’s his book that serves as the impetus for this month’s round table discussion.

Joining KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin this month are Colonel Bob McLaughlin, Garrison Commander at Fort Carson, Major Chris Ivany, Chief of the Department of Behavioral Health at Evans Community Hospital at Fort Carson, journalist Dave Philipps, and Rich Lindsey, an Air Force Vietnam veteran, and lead Peer Navigator with AspenPointe. That’s a civilian organization devoted to, among other things, helping soldiers and their families transition to civilian life. The conversation begins with Major Ivany differentiating between post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and behavioral health issues.

Download or listen to the segment as aired:

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Download or listen to the full conversation (about 1 hour, 18 minutes long):

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Mountainside Pterodactyl

Mountainside Pterodactyl

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An innovative collaboration at Mountainside Elementary on base at Fort Carson is helping bring disparate parts of the Colorado Springs community together to make art.


USAF Proposes Low-Altitude Flights

The Air Force says it needs new low altitude training flight patterns for aircraft based at Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico. An environmental assessment of the area, known as a Low Altitude Tactical Navigation area, or LATN, is currently underway. It includes much of northern New Mexico, and southern Colorado. On the Western Slope, it would extend to the Utah border, and as far north as part of Garfield County. As KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports, the plan is generating controversy.

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The LATN proposal, FAQs, and other information can be found on the top right-hand side of the main web page for Cannon Air Force Base.


The Ghost Army and Local Artist George Vander Sluis

Ghost Army

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Wartime subterfuge is as old as the Trojan Horse. But during World War II, the Army created a top-secret troop of artists called the Ghost Army to use fake arsenals, sound effects and other sleights of hand to trick the Germans. One of the artists in the troop, George Vander Sluis, spent time teaching at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in the 1940s.

The Ghost Army is also the subject of a documentary of the same name by filmmaker and author Rick Beyer (quoted in the story above). The film is due to be completed later this year and you can watch a trailer below or visit his website at ghostarmy.com.

 

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