TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Saturday, Nov 28, 2015

Howard Altman

Tribune Staff
Altman, Howard

Air Force OKs request for AirFest to return to MacDill in 2016

- The Air Force has signed off on a request from base officials to hold its popular AirFest at MacDill Air Force Base in 2016. The event drew more than 185,000 spectators in March 2014, the last time it was held.

Legionnaire’s lingers at Bay Pines but experts say there is little danger


Late last year, the bacteria that can cause the potentially fatal Legionnaire’s disease was found in half the sites tested in the mental health treatment building at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center.

Congress investigating allegations of intelligence manipulation by Centcom

- A spokesman says Centcom and commander Gen. Lloyd Austin III are taking seriously allegations that intelligence reports were altered to provide a rosier picture of the fight against Islamic State. According to a report, inv...

Joint Chiefs honor Operation Helping Hand for work with wounded troops


Thursday night, Operation Helping Hand held its 139th consecutive monthly dinner to honor the wounded, ill and injured troops recuperating at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital.

Hear some loud booms? They’re related to military exercises

- Reports Tuesday night of loud booms from Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties are connected to pilot training at Tyndall Air Force Base, officials say.

Head of VA benefits office leaving St. Petersburg for Nebraska


Kerrie Witty, whose tenure as head of the nation’s busiest regional veterans benefits office was marked by success in reducing a claims backlog and criticism over morale issues and claims handling, is leaving for ...

Drones ready for leap into a new age


About the time one of the drones of today likely killed English-speaking Islamic State executioner “Jihadi John,” Skip Parish was gearing up for a conference he’ll be attending this week in Berlin ge...

Tampa-based coalition signed off on French retaliation

- Before launching airstrikes Sunday in retaliation for the Paris terror attacks, French officials “nominated” targets they wanted to hit to the international coalition led by U.S. Central Command, headquartered...

Attacks initiate ‘state of war,’ says retired French Army colonel in Tampa

- “I immediately realized with such big numbers of casualties, it was not a road rage incident or a gang attack,” said Philippe Derathé, who now works for a global security firm.

Family dealing with challenges of Tampa contractor’s death


TAMPA — When Mark Rose heard the news that his friend James Damon Creach had been killed in a shooting rampage in Jordan, he knew he had to do something to help the family.

Tribune interview: Air campaign leader sees progress against ISIS


As the head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command since June, Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown is leading the aerial campaign against the Sunni insurgent group calling itself Islamic State.

Veterans Day request: Have a talk as they leave, come home

- Retired Navy SEAL Rear Adm. Ed Winters III gave marching orders to the crowd gathered to honor veterans: take care of those who have served your country.

Being a veteran helps physician assistant at VA hospital do his job

- After 34-year military career, Lary Miller decided to forego a lucrative job offer in the civilian world to continue his mission, helping veterans and active duty service members recover from the damage they suffered servin...

Tampa police trainer among dead in Jordan shooting

- James Damon Creach, a married Tampa father of three, is one of two Florida men killed by a gunman who attacked a training site in Jordan for Palestinian police.

Survey: USF ranks No. 2 nationally for veterans


The University of South Florida was ranked the second best four-year-institution in the U.S. for veterans, according to the annual

Equipment malfunction forced parachutist to land outside stadium at Bucs game


TAMPA — U.S. Special Operations Command’s Para-Commandos routinely perform free-fall parachute demonstrations at air shows, sporting events and various patriotic, civic and school celebrations throughout th...

Variety of events planned for Veterans Day in the Tampa Bay area


Nov. 11 is always a busy time in the Tampa area.

Equipment malfunction forced parachutist to land outside stadium at Bucs game


TAMPA — U.S. Special Operations Command’s Para-Commandos routinely perform free-fall parachute demonstrations at air shows, sporting events and various patriotic, civic and school celebrations throughout th...

Retired general has his own solution for Syria


As we gear up for Veterans Day, it’s a good time to think about the next waves of men and women we send into harm’s way.

Authors stage book fair to benefit survivors of fallen Navy SEALs


TAMPA — Before he shipped off for Afghanistan with the rest of his platoon from SEAL Team 7, Thom Shea began writing a series of notes to his children — life lessons to be delivered in case he didn’t...

Veteran with PTSD anguishes over missing benefits check

- For a week now, Daniel Bordeaux, a 100 percent service-disabled Navy veteran who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, has grown more frantic as his debts mount and his bank account racks up overdraft fees.

Judge lets Jill Kelley seek information feds want hidden


Lawyers for Jill and Scott Kelley, who are suing the FBI and Defense Department over the leaking of Jill Kelley’s name to the media, will be allowed to continue questioning an FBI agent and obtain additional docum...

Vietnam veteran to VA: I'm not dead, restore my benefits

- When his monthly VA disability check wasn’t deposited, Mike Rieker called to find out why. A short while later, a woman from the VA’s Philadelphia claims office called him back with some startling news.

Socom’s ‘hackathon’ opens process of creating high-tech commando gear


Imagine a helmet visor that allows commandos in the field to see friendly and enemy forces, even behind walls, without emitting light to give them away.

New MacDill commander takes over on eve of Syria mission


The newest commander at MacDill Air Force Base is taking charge of a complex organization at a complex time.

Vet wants military commemorative plates issued only to those who served

- A veteran is on a new mission — trying to change how plates commemorating the five branches of the armed forces are issued in Florida.

Rescued by SEALS, aid worker raising money for them


TAMPA — On her 93rd night as a captive of Somali pirates, American aid worker Jessica Buchanan did what she taught herself to do to stay sane in the dark.

MacDill welcomes 2 new leaders for troubled Centcom region


TAMPA — MacDill Air Force base is getting two new commanders to help lead U.S. military efforts in the Middle East.

Report: Afghan stabilizing effort developed by Hillsborough man failing


Scott Mann could have seen it coming — a report issued Monday warning that mismanagement and waste could imperil a half-billion program to help Afgh...

Does occasionally Amazin’ Mets success prove the Harbinger Theory?

- Despite a history of mostly misery, longtime fan Howard Altman points out that there’s one telltale sign of World Series success for those occasionally Amazin’ Mets as they take on the Royals in search of their ...

Tampa attorney part of group visiting Iran


Thursday afternoon, Tampa attorney John Bierley set off on a most interesting international journey.

Jill Kelley claims FBI first targeted her, not source of threatening emails

- Lawyers for Jill Kelley say there are very good reasons they should be allowed to continue questioning an FBI agent in connection with their lawsuit accusing the federal government of violating her privacy.

Federal officials giving depositions in Jill Kelley privacy suit


Last month, at Justice Department headquarters in Washington, FBI agent Adam Malone underwent hours of questioning in a case so contentious his deposition was halted in a disagreement among the attorneys present.

New system at MacDill AFB helps military parents find child care

- A new web-based system went online at MacDill that will help alleviate some of the hassles of trying to find childcare for families frequently on the move.

Companies irked by how Socom awards contracts

- A series of protests and lawsuits has bogged down a $1.5 billion U.S. Special Operations Command program designed to maximize competition and improve performance of contracts for a broad array of services, training and supp...

Brooks’ stories almost as funny as jokes in ‘Blazing Saddles’

- Mel Brooks took the stage at the Straz Center on Wednesday night to thunderous applause after a screening of his classic spoof, then shared stories about its making.

Report: MacDill’s economic impact jumps in Tampa area


TAMPA — The economic impact of MacDill Air Force Base, including military retirees and spouses living within 50 miles, was $4.7 billion in fiscal 2014, a jump of $1.3 billion in two years, according to the 6th Air...

Symposium offers support, job tips for military spouses


TAMPA — Karen Golden knows well the challenges of trying to maintain a career while married to someone in the military.

Cybersecurity expert urges open talk between government, business


When Keith Alexander arrived in Tampa in 1998 to take over as director of intelligence for U.S. Central Command, he spent the first six days walking around MacDill Air Force Base, checking out his new surroundings.

Very little peace to be found in the Middle East


“Where to begin?”

Military savings plan aims to get troops thinking about their finances


TSA manager violated Orlando security checks, complaint says


A top Transportation Safety Administration security official at Orlando International Airport breached security by escorting the daughter of another senior security official through a line without having her showing any ...

Expect something different when John Cleese and Eric Idle take the stage in Clearwater


If you feel the need to break into a silly walk or maybe let one fly around a campfire on Wednesday and Thursday, we understand.

Mel Brooks talks movies, dating and Cuban sandwiches before his Tampa show


If you feel the need to break into a silly walk or maybe let one fly around a campfire on Wednesday and Thursday, we understand.

Russia testing military power with Syria attacks, Tampa expert says

- The Russians “have a little bit of an inferiority complex, so any chance they can get, they want to show their military capabilities,” said Greg Celestan, who spent time in the former Soviet Union as a U.S. Ar...

Putin makes U.S. play his game


Shortly before 10:30 p.m., June 9, 2014, on a ridgeline near the Gaza Valley in southern Afghanistan, five U.S. soldiers and an Afghan National Army soldier were killed when two 500-pound bombs were dropped on their posi...

Court program helps faltering vets reverse downward spiral

- The Veterans Treatment Court helps troubled vets, including those accused of certain felonies, to turn their lives around under a strict program requiring a far greater commitment to self-help than the regular court system.

Top experts in combat injuries headline Tampa symposium


TAMPA — For more than five years, the Palm Harbor-based Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge has been taking men and women up tall mountains and down under the sea to help them recover and discover.

Buchanan decries punishment of Army sergeant who told of child rape


U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan of Sarasota and Duncan Hunter of California are introducing a resolution calling for “the immediate reinstatement of a decorated Green Beret who blew the whistle on child rape by U.S. mili...