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Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

Howard Altman

Tribune Staff
Altman, Howard

Those loud booms? They're from test range Whiskey 470

- Few people outside of military and aviation circles have heard about Whiskey 470 in the Gulf. But last week, folks as far inland as Gainesville began reporting noises likely emanating from it.

Architect of interrogation methods seeks vindication

- James Mitchell, a Pasco resident who took part in the waterboarding of the 9/11 mastermind, wants the CIA to declassify a deposition in which he raised concerns about the treatment of detainees.

NOAA looks to build the next generation of hurricane planes

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Kermit was bouncing around pretty good the last time I was on it, flying into the eye of Hurricane Irene as it was ramping up from a Cat 1 to a Cat 2.

Pentagon grants ‘danger pay’ for missions over Syria

- MacDill AFB officials won’t say if their crews are eligible. If so, they would be among roughly 600 airmen to retroactively get an extra $7.50 a day, up to $225 a month.

Senate report ignites security debate

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The executive summary of a classified Senate investigation into CIA interrogation techniques has sparked debate in Tampa, home to U.S. Central Command, which is leading the fight against jihadis in the Middle East.

Silver, former Haley VA Hospital director, dies at 92

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Richard Silver, a World War II veteran who dedicated his life to those who served, spent his last moments at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, the facility he ran for 25 years.

Afghanistan veterans see reason for hope as operation ends

- As the U.S. and NATO closed down their combat command during a ceremony in Kabul on Monday, it was a time to reflect for those who fought in, planned for and paid the pice during the 13-year war.

Hostage rescue requires perfection, commandos say

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Rescuing hostages is the most difficult of all special operations. It requires relative superiority to be almost simultaneous with mission completion — for any delay between relative superi...

Pearl Harbor survivor dreads today’s anniversary

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Cecil Wigmore grew up in an orphanage near Muncie, Indiana, dreaming of tropical Hawaii and girls on the beach. And for a poor 19-year-old whose father had died and whose mother couldn’t afford to raise him, the f...

Wounded veterans set sail in weekend race

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After regaling the gathering of combat wounded with his stories of helping hunt down drug lord Pablo Escobar then taking part in the invasion of Panama, Nelson Corbin gets serious.

Defense bill impacts MacDill

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The defense spending bill passed by the House of Representatives today authorizes a 10 percent budget increase for U.S. Special Operations Command, extended authority for it to carry out its missions and more money to ke...

FBI hasn't closed files yet on Petraeus investigation

- It’s been more than two years since he resigned as director of the CIA over an affair, but David Petraeus is still being investigated by the FBI.

Hybrid warfare used by Islamic State fighters is nothing new

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The hybrid force of bandits, regular soldiers, and unregulated fighters used tactics ranging from fixed battle, roadside ambush and stolen military equipment to wreak havoc on the government’s army.

Centcom helps fortify Iraqi forces against Islamic State

- The Mosul offensive is part of what Centcom, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base and overseeing U.S. military efforts in the region, calls its “counter-Daesh campaign plan,” using the Arabic name for the I...

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.

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.