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Sunday, Feb 14, 2016

Howard Altman

Tribune Staff
Altman, Howard

Former general makes a case for sparing Guantanamo

- Sitting in the office of his Bayshore Boulevard home, Jay Hood holds a picture of five bearded men — all Taliban leaders taken off the battlefields of Afghanistan and detained at Guantanamo Bay until they were swapped...

Families to honor fallen military in Tampa during Operation Love Letters

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For Yolanda Mercado, the pain of losing her son while he was deployed in Afghanistan more than four years ago is still raw.

Socom gets boost in Obama budget, but base closings loom

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TAMPA — President Barack Obama, who has relied heavily on Special Operations Forces in the battle against Islamic extremists, has given U.S. Special Operations Command a budget boost in his final spending plan, de...

CBS orders pilot for television drama based on Tampa military scene

- Variety reports the pilot “follows two powerful rival families in the military community of Tampa,” who make decisions at the highest levels of national security. MacDill AFB, with its share of drama over the ...

Security breaches differ at core

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Trying to save my soul tonight ... It’s nobody’s fault but mine

Shipbuilder succeeds with wider net, goes from yachts to military craft

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Pushing the throttle forward, Adrian Bishop guns the 44-foot boat to nearly 65 mph through the gently rolling waters of Tampa Bay.

Nearly five years after David Petraeus scandal, bad decisions still resonate

- In Howard Altman’s military column, he dives into two lasting questions about Paula Broadwell: Should the Justice Department spent the time it did investigating her? And did she deserve to be treated as a journalist, ...

Veterans meet Joe Maddon at Kelleys' Bayshore home during Gasparilla

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Sitting in his wheelchair on the front lawn of the Bayshore Boulevard home owned by Jill and Scott Kelley, Charlie Lemon talks about an item on his bucket list.

Local veterans advocates fear impact from Wounded Warrior reports

- Military charities say reports about lavish spending by the cause’s biggest charity — the Jacksonville-based Wounded Warrior Project — is making a tough job even tougher.

KC-46A tanker passes test as Tampa works to land it for MacDill AFB

- The KC-46A Pegasus jets, along with additional personnel and construction jobs to prepare MacDill Air Force Base, could mean tens of millions of dollars to the local economy, says U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.

In combat, civilians will be killed

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From right here in Tampa, the folks at U.S. Central Command are calling the current aerial campaign against the so-called Islamic State “the most precise in the history of warfare.”

Airstrikes against Islamic State likely caused two civilian deaths

- U.S. airstrikes in the ongoing fight against the Sunni jihadi group calling itself Islamic State likely resulted in the death of two civilians and injuries to an additional four civilians, according to the latest report fro...

Attending MacDill’s AirFest in March? Here’s what you can’t bring on base

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Planning to head to the Tampa Bay AirFest in March at MacDill Air Force Base?

Issue of prohibiting certain IDs murky at MacDill Air Force Base

- Military bases around the country have been prohibiting people with driver’s licenses from Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Washington from using them as identification to get on base.

Centcom timeline of detained sailors shows Iranians kept SIM cards

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U.S. Central Command released new details Monday about Iran’s seizure of two Navy boats and 10 sailors last week, saying one of the riverine command vessels experienced mechanical problems in Iranian waters.

Survival may depend on who took U.S. hostages in Baghdad

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In Baghdad, where kidnapping is a way of life in many religious factions and criminal groups, the fate of three Americans who disappeared depends largely on who took them, says a former Navy SEAL now living in Tampa who ...

Likely leaders in the battle against Islamic State will have JSOC connections

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At some point this year, probably after the current commanders deliver their last annual statements to Congress, the stars will have aligned for Joint Special Operations Command — the Fort Bragg, North Carolina, h...

Centcom reports 8 civilians killed in 3 months of airstrikes

- A review of airstrikes by the U.S. led coalition fighting the so-called Islamic State jihadi group found that five strikes in Iraq and Syria, between April 12 and July 4, likely resulted in the death of eight civilians and ...

Defense chief Carter names nominee for Centcom command during MacDill visit

- Ash Carter, after meeting with military leaders at the Tampa base, announced that Army Gen. Joseph Votel, now head of Socom, will be the nominee to be the next leader of Centcom. Carter was the first Pentagon official to pu...

House committee demands to see messy boxes of VA claims

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The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee is demanding that the Department of Veterans Affairs turn over boxes containing benefits materials from St. Petersburg that were found in disarray in a Georgia scannin...

For family, slaying of SEAL at Hyde Park nightspot is a study in law

- Text messages appear to be a factor in a possible “stand your ground” defense by a SoHo Backyard co-owner accused of fatally shooting former Navy Seal Tim Martin.

App could tell drivers easiest way into MacDill AFB

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For the folks at Via, a Tampa-based technology startup, a smartphone app developed to help ease traffic problems at MacDill Air Force Base is only the beginning.

General may wind up on a hotter seat

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It’s just a short walk at MacDill Air Force Base from the headquarters of U.S. Special Operations Command to the headquarters of U.S. Central Command.

Future of MacDill medical clinic debated

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TAMPA — Active duty service members, retirees and their dependents have come to rely on the MacDill Air Force Base medical clinic in Brandon, which serves about 18,000 patients a year.

Castor, Bilirakis, Rubio upset at veterans service problems in St. Pete

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TAMPA — Local members of Congress who routinely deal with the Department of Veterans Affairs are calling for action in the wake of a report that veterans seeking benefits had to wait longer because documents were ...

Veterans waited longer for benefits through St. Pete office, VA finds

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Veterans who filed benefits claims at the St. Petersburg Regional Office waited longer in 2014 because claims materials weren’t prepared properly, a Department of Veterans Affairs report says.

Tampa foundation springs to action upon hearing of wounded, fallen commandos

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The death of one commando and the wounding of two others in a firefight in Afghanistan is a stark reminder of how dangerous that country remains and why organizations like the Tampa-based Special Operations Warrior Found...

2015 evoked a wide range of emotions

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Covering the military and veterans in a place like the Tampa Bay area at a time of enduring conflict is never dull, and 2015 had plenty of interesting moments of triumph and tragedy, controversy and success.

Proposed app would cut motorists’ wait at MacDill gates

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Anyone who needs to get onto MacDill Air Force Base knows how long it can take to get through the gates.

Girl wounded, cruiser damaged, five arrested in St. Pete celebratory gunfire

- Five men were arrested, a girl was wounded, and a police cruiser suffered apparent damage in four separate incidents involving celebratory gunfire in St. Petersburg early this morning.

Outback Bowl fans show colors in pre-game tailgate

- In basic color theory, purple and orange are secondary colors. But they were the primary hues at Raymond James Stadium as fans of Northwestern and Tennessee filled the parking lots for tailgating prior to the Outback Bowl.

Virginia transfer to head St. Pete-based VA health network

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The Department of Veterans Affairs Sunshine Healthcare Network, which oversees VA health services in Florida, southern Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, has a new director.

Dividing Iraq into three regions may be best path to peace

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At some point, the Iraqis will probably fully retake Ramadi. And, sometime further down the road, they might, with the help (possibly) of the Kurds and more help from the U.S., Canada and other allies, retake Mosul.

Critics fear a Cuban consulate in Tampa would become a ‘spy hotbed’

- A group led by a couple of retired colonels argue the consulate would be a nest of espionage, with spies from one of the world’s best intelligence agencies coming to Tampa and targeting MacDill Air Force Base.