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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

Howard Altman

Tribune Staff
Altman, Howard

MacDill community closely watching Hagel events

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The Pentagon may be 800 miles to the north, but what happens inside the world’s largest low-rise office building has a huge effect on Tampa, where MacDill Air Force Base is the only installation in the United Stat...

Father of killed Navy SEAL works to create retreat for vets

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The day the helicopter went down, 30 American families were thrust into the depths of despair. And like nearly 7,000 others since the war in Afghanistan began in October 2001, and the war in Iraq 17 months later, they ha...

General ‘very pleased’ with plans to defeat Islamic State

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The man leading the U.S. military’s efforts to defeat the Islamic State said he is “very pleased” with the results of a 10-day conference of nearly 200 military planners from 33 nations held at MacDi...

Whistleblower complaint filed against St. Pete VA office

- Just days after issuing a scathing report, Javier Soto was told that his services as a Ratings Benefits Services Representative “were no longer needed.”

Internet scammer adopts face of Army officer from Pasco

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Norma Jean Culpeper of Mullins, South Carolina, says the man who scammed her out of $1,200 by claiming to be an Army officer stationed in Afghanistan was able to do so, in part, because of the picture he emailed her.

Socom seeks data extractor for use during commando missions

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After killing Osama Bin Laden, Navy SEALs raced through his Abbottabad compound, scooping up computers, memory cards, thumb drives and recorders before flying back to Afghanistan. It was all part of an effort, according ...

Socom leaders interested in cloaking technology

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In its never-ending search for ways to give commandos an edge in combat, U.S. Special Operations Command is looking to take a page out of the Harry Potter playbook.

Experience briefing president leads new agency chief to raise bar

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From 2010 until this fall, Robert Cardillo was the man who briefed President Barack Obama on what the intelligence community knew about what was going on in the world. He says that experience helped inform the way he run...

Two of three Florida VA hospitals receiving recent award are in Tampa area

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The Tampa area’s two local Veterans Affairs hospitals were among only three VA medical facilities in the state receiving a recent award from a hospital accrediting organization.

30 nations in Tampa to plot Islamic State’s demise

- U.S. Central Command is hosting nearly 200 military planners at a conference with a goal of refining the campaign to degrade and defeat the militants.

Raid author unhappy being linked with self-proclaimed bin Laden killer

- Though they were comrades on the raid that killed the al-Qaida leader, Matt Bissionnette and Robert O’Neill are on different sides of the issue of how classified missions should be discussed.

Veterans Day events stir varied memories

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As the floats and cars and Cub Scouts marched by, William Tant Jr. sat in his wheelchair, waving his American flag.

New venture helps Tampa veteran see the light

- Although there are no shortages of challenges facing those who have served their country, Steve Rutherford is not about homelessness or suicide or the inability to reintegrate with society.

On Veterans Day, work to preserve memories of war

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The 98-year-old stands ramrod straight at the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, curls his right index finger into his palm and offers a boast no one in their right mind would take him up on.

Haley officials investigate failure of backup water system

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Officials from the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital are investigating why a backup water supply system failed to provide enough pressure to the Spinal Cord Injury and Polytrauma centers after the regular flow of water wa...

Report gives Young VA center clean bill of health

- The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs in the United States, found no problems with access to or quality of health care.

Local Congressional incumbents keep seats

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There were no changes in the local Congressional delegation as Republican incumbents handily beat their opponents.

Burkina Faso interim president took training in Tampa

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Before he became interim president of the West African nation of Burkina Faso over the weekend after violent demonstrations there, Lt. Col. Isaac Zida spent nearly two weeks in Tampa, learning how to battle terrorism at ...

Judge dismisses claim against government filed by Tampa family of Navy Yard victim

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TAMPA — A federal court judge in Tampa has dismissed a wrongful death claim filed against the U.S. government by the Tampa family of a woman killed in the 2013 Washington Navy Yard shooting.

MacDill pilot ready to test Air Force’s new tanker

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In the Leibrand household, husband David currently outranks his wife Kaylyn, but she is about to get the sweeter ride.

Veterans aim to help teen amputee

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Billy Costello has some advice for Lashawn Williams, the Northeast High School defensive lineman who needed his right leg amputated after a freak injury during a game last week

Commander issues memo directing SEALs to keep quiet

- The head of all Naval Special Warfare personnel has a message for SEALs who feel the urge to seek publicity for or financial gain from their combat experiences.

MacDill unit setting up communications in Liberia in fight against Ebola

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— For Army Lt. Col. Marne Sutten, the chance to help fight the spread of Ebola far outweighs the inconvenience of being separated from her family while stationed in Liberia and ...

Bin Laden shooter’s plan to reveal ID irks fellow SEALs

- “The Shooter” will provide an "extensive, first-hand account of the mission” during a documentary. But revealing his identity has the SEAL community wary about his appearance on TV.

State grants $750,000 for cybersecurity training

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Sometimes, there is a silver lining to a perfect storm, and that’s what the creators of a new cybersecurity training program for veterans hope to capture.

House committee quizzes VA on disciplinary actions in retaliation lawsuit

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— Now that the Department of Veterans Affairs has settled a four-year-old retaliation lawsuit by shelling out $1.3 million to nearly a dozen plaintiffs, the chairman of the Hous...

MacDill AFB campaign gets $150,000 grant to support base’s future

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— Will MacDill Air Force Base still be around in the year 2025?

VA reaches settlement in retaliation lawsuit

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The Department of Veterans Affairs has reached a settlement in a federal lawsuit filed by current and former members of the police department at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center.

Roundtable offers chance to consider factors, seek solutions in veteran suicides

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Just Monday morning, 16 veterans contacted the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital suicide crisis hotline.

Internet thief picked the wrong guy

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The Marine veteran lives in Wauchula, commutes to Tampa for his full-time job as a firefighter with Tampa Fire Rescue and also works at South Bay Hospital on his days off.

MacDill caution note spurs wildly varied reactions

- A MacDill email urging military personnel to take caution displaying their military affiliation prompts responses from outrage to understanding.

Troops, families told to downplay military ties

- Troops and families at MacDill Air Force Base are being advised to downplay references to their military connections on social media because of online threats by Islamic State and other groups.

Largo company wins $8.7 million Army contract

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During 13 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 2,500 U.S. troops were killed by improvised explosive devices, according to The Washington Post.

Socom seeks drone services to collect intel

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Warren “Skip” Parish has already punched the first Wednesday and Thursday of December into his calendar.

Tampa-area VA hospitals training for Ebola cases

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By the end of this week, the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center in St. Petersburg and the five other Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers in the region will...

Cartel, terrorist ties are up for debate

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There is a lot of concern these days about the possibility that members of Islamic State or other jihadi organizations m...

Suit against Young VA center claims veteran died as a result of treatment delays

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Back in April, the Department of Veterans Affairs released the results of its investigation into cancer deaths that occurred as the result of delayed gastrointestinal treatment.

Austin: Iraqi forces launch counterattack on Islamic State

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Iraqi Security Forces have initiated a counterattack against the Islamic State to relieve troops in Bayji, said Army Gen. Lloyd Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tam...

‘Operation Inherent Resolve’ draws yawns from Tampa vets

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Ever since Aug. 8, the United States, and eventually partner nations, have waged an air war against the Sunni insurgent group Islamic State. It started over Iraq and on Sept. 23, targets in Syria began being hit as well....

MacDill AFB seeks project partners under new community program

- MacDill Air Force Base would like an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The city of Tampa would like one as well. A year ago, the base and the community would likely have gone their separate ways in pursuit of a mutual desire. No...

Ruling limits legal remedies for many exposed to Camp Lejeune pollutants

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A federal court ruling in North Carolina this week will have a devastating impact on many of the nearly 20,000 Floridians currently registered with the Marine Corps for their exposures at Camp Lejeune to three known huma...

Afghanistan casualties, charity’s work show battle still raging

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With so much attention focused, and rightly so, on events in Syria and Iraq, let’s not forget that there are still about 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. And that Afghanistan remains a very dangerous place.

Local vets debate need for ground troops against Islamic State

- The Pentagon says airstrikes against the militants in Iraq and Syria are achieving their modest goals. But the Islamic State's continued advance highlights a long-standing concern that the lack of critical communications wi...

Haley director headed for stint in VA’s southwest system

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TAMPA — Kathleen Fogarty, director of the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, has been named to temporarily take over the Veteran Administration’s Southwest Healthcare System, including the troubled P...

MacDill communications unit ships out to Africa on Ebola mission

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When the U.S. military deploys forces to far away places, members of the Joint Communications Support Element, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, are among the first to ship out.

Socom, Polk County Sheriff’s Office among those with drone permits

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A Davenport man had barricaded himself in his house early last year and set it on fire.

Tampa VA hospital boss to employees: Answer the phones

- Many veterans have complained that calls to the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital went unanswered. Hospital director Kathleen Fogarty sends workers an email blast reminding them it's everybody's job to do so.

Tampa nonprofit awarded $3 million grant for homeless veterans

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TAMPA — Tampa Crossroads, a nonprofit organization helping the homeless in Hillsborough County, has received a three-year, $3 million grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help homeless veterans in the ...

Operation unnamed, but threats real

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On Aug. 8, U.S. aircraft began attacking Islamic State positions in Iraq. On Sept. 23, U.S. and coalition aircraft began attacking the jihadi group in Syria.

VA secretary tours St. Petersburg, Tampa facilities

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TAMPA — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald says he knows firsthand the attraction Florida has for veterans.