Quil Lawrence

David Aquila ("Quil") Lawrence is an award-winning correspondent for NPR News, covering the millions of Americans who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as they transition to life back at home.

Previously, Lawrence served as NPR's Bureau Chief in Kabul. He joined NPR in 2009 as Baghdad Bureau Chief – capping off ten years of reporting in Iraq and all the bordering countries. That experience made the foundation for his first book Invisible Nation: How the Kurds' Quest for Statehood is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East, published in 2008.

Before coming to NPR, Lawrence was based in Jerusalem, as Middle East correspondent for The World, a BBC/PRI co-production. For the BBC he covered the fall of the Taliban in December 2001 and returned to Afghanistan periodically to report on development, the drug trade and insurgency.

Lawrence began his career as a freelancer for NPR and various newspapers while based in Bogota, Colombia, covering Latin America. Other reporting trips took him to Sudan, Morocco, Cuba, Pakistan and Iran.

A native of Maine, Lawrence studied history at Brandeis University, with concentrations in the Middle East and Latin America. He is fluent in Spanish and conversant in Arabic.

Pages

3:35am

Tue November 11, 2014
U.S.

Veterans Voices Multitracked, Overdubbed, Amplified Through An Actor

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 8:16 am

BASETRACK Live incorporates photographs, videos and interviews to tell the story of warfare, both at home and abroad.
Courtesy of En Garde Arts

Basetrack began as a place for embedded journalists to post photos. Later it became a social media site where families could keep up with their troops in Afghanistan. Now it has transformed again, into a new way for the most recent generation of veterans to tell the story of their service and survival.

Read more

3:21am

Mon October 13, 2014
Shots - Health News

A Benefit For Rural Vets: Getting Health Care Close To Home

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 7:12 pm

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

Army veteran Randy Michaud had to make a 200-mile trip to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Aroostook County, Maine, near the Canadian border, every time he had a medical appointment.

Michaud, who was medically retired after a jeep accident in Germany 25 years ago, moved home to Maine in 1991. He was eligible for VA medical care, but the long drive was a problem.

He's one of millions of veterans living in rural America who must travel hundreds of miles round-trip for care.

Read more

11:03am

Tue September 16, 2014
Around the Nation

Homeless Vets: They're Not Just Single Men Anymore

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 4:49 pm

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

Every summer for 27 years, a small tent city has popped up in San Diego. "Stand Down" is a three-day oasis for homeless veterans, with showers, new clothes, hot meals, medical help, legal aid and a booth set up for every housing program in the city.

Increasingly, the event needs ways to keep children entertained.

"They've got the kids zone and everything. My kids live out here very happy. They're looking forward to it from last year," says Alex Morales, who served in the Army in the 1970s.

Read more

5:07am

Wed August 27, 2014
Health Care

After Inspector General Report, Veterans Want More Than Promises

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 7:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Read more

5:13pm

Tue August 26, 2014
News

VA's Inspector General Finds Faked Data At Hospitals Across U.S.

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 8:07 pm

President Obama addressed the annual convention of the American Legion in North Carolina with a raft of new proposals for vets. The speech comes as the inspector general at the Veterans Affairs Department is releasing a report on the scandal over phony wait times at the Phoenix VA hospital.

Read more

3:08pm

Fri August 22, 2014
National Security

First Rule Of This Fight Club: You Must Be A Veteran

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 8:09 pm

Vance, who serves as a coach, founded the group after his own struggle with PTSD. He says it helped him get out of a dark place. He now has a degree in social work.
David Gilkey/NPR

About a dozen military veterans have locked themselves inside a caged boxing ring, in a rough part of San Diego, and they're starting to throw punches. It's therapeutic, they say.

"A lot of people say, 'You guys are punching each other in the face. How is that helpful?' " says Aaron Espinoza, a former Marine. "But it's a respect thing, it's mutual. I have to push him, he has to push me to get better."

Read more

5:05pm

Mon July 28, 2014
Politics

After 5 Weeks Of Haggling, Congress Inks Bipartisan VA Bill

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 7:40 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:59pm

Fri July 11, 2014
Health

Veterans Kick The Prescription Pill Habit, Against Doctors' Orders

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 6:28 am

Katherine Streeter for NPR

For many people with post-traumatic stress disorder, sleeping can return you to the worst place you've ever been, at the worst possible moment.

"I always see his face," says Will, who did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Army. "And in my dreams it's the same thing. ... I always walk over to him, and instead of this Afghani kid that's laying there, it's my little brother."

Read more

5:53pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Shots - Health News

A Growing Number Of Veterans Struggles To Quit Powerful Painkillers

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 7:20 pm

Bryan McDonel and his father, Mike, both served multiple tours in Iraq with the National Guard. Bryan was first prescribed painkillers before his deployment, and his dependence on medication prompted a downward spiral.
Quil Lawrence NPR

There are antlers everywhere on the walls of Bryan and Mike McDonel's place near Pine Bluff, Ark. The house is hardly big enough for all their hunting trophies. Both are good shots with their hunting bows; Bryan and Mike, his father, served in the Arkansas National Guard and deployed together to Iraq, twice.

The McDonel family has served in the military for generations. But Bryan, 35, is out of the service now. He is one of thousands of troops and veterans who struggle with addiction to prescription drugs.

Read more

4:17pm

Mon June 30, 2014
National Security

Obama Taps Former Procter & Gamble Chief To Helm VA

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:01 pm

President Obama has picked Robert McDonald, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. If confirmed by the Senate, McDonald will face a difficult task. The VA is is embroiled in a controversy over falsified and lengthy wait times for veterans.

Pages