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Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Special Report

Tribune Military Writer Howard Altman travels to Afghanistan to bring you stories of the commandos who are taking on a bigger role in U.S. military operations. They are part of Special Operations Command, based in Tampa, and the lessons they're learning during America's longest war will be used as the nation faces new challenges around the globe. If you have questions/comments for Howard, e-mail him with Special Operations in the subject line at [email protected]
Reports from the field:

'Being female didn't matter'
To insurgents, it didn't matter that the soldier firing the weapon was a woman. And, for the most part, her gender hasn't mattered to the troops she's served with, either.

Afghans, U.S. forces building nation - one village at a time
After a decade in Afghanistan, U.S. forces are now up against a deadline for preparing the nation to stand on its own.

St. Pete soldier handles organized chaos of Afghanistan
In a busy office in a busy shack at the headquarters of Special Operations Task Force South, a staff sergeant from St. Petersburg is the man to see if you want to get from Point A to Point B.

Special Forces recall fallen comrades
The men and women of the 7th Special Forces Group don't wait for Memorial Day to remember fellow commandos killed in action.

Wounded Afghan boy symbolizes IED problem
Special Forces are turning to locals to help track down who is making the explosives and where the devices can be found.

Afghan linguist risks life working with U.S. troops
A translator has personal reasons for helping Special Forces, though he knows when the troops are gone his life will be in danger.

Altman: Special Forces' mission: Build ties between Afghans
Even special operations forces are pulling back, but Special Forces have an enduring mission – creating a network among Afghan villages that can stand up to the Taliban.

Altman: Socom's goal: Pre-empt wars
With the military facing big spending cuts and a new emphasis on places around the globe, U.S. Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, is working to adapt to new realities.

Socom trade show in Tampa highlights future needs
One thing that makes the Special Operations Command special is the authority it has to develop and buy its own equipment and services.

Altman: Reporter heads to Afghanistan for first-hand look
I will travel this month to Kabul for a short embed with special operations forces. My goal is to get a sense, in this very compressed time frame, of the future of special operations.


Howard Altman covers the military for The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com. He has worked as an editor, reporter and columnist for nearly 30 years, in the Boston area, Connecticut, Philadelphia and New York state. The winner of more than 50 journalism awards, he reported from the Middle East during the Arab uprising against Israel known as the First Intafada. Howard is married with three children and lives in New Port Richey.
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