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Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014

Howard Altman

Tribune Staff
Altman, Howard

Visit of federal labor agency to St. Pete VA office reminder of war’s lasting effects

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Back in the spring, Iraq was in the rearview mirror and U.S. Central Command, headquartered here in Tampa at MacDill Air Force Base, was largely focused on winding down the war in Afghanistan, which is supposed to end by...

Obama to visit Centcom in Tampa on Wednesday

- President Barack Obama will visit U.S. Central Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, on Wednesday for a briefing on battle plans against the insurgent group Islamic State.

House Intelligence Committee hearing to focus on extremists

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Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who ran U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base from 2010 to 2013, will be one of three witnesses to appear before a House Intelligence Committee hearing on threats posed by the I...

Former Centcom boss honors 9/11 on first visit back to Tampa

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In his first trip back to the Tampa area since turning over the helm of U.S. Central Command in 2013, James Mattis, the retired Marine general known affectionately as “Mad Dog,” recalled fond memories of th...

Ground observers could boost airstrike success, experts say.

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The presence of special operations forces, CIA operatives or some combination on the ground in Syria would improve the success of any airstrikes there and reduce collateral damage, several former commandos, military plan...

Air crews return to MacDill from Iraq mission

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Back in June, Air Force Capt. Donnie Hart and several other members of the 91st Air Refueling Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base were given orders to pack their bags and get ready to leave for the Middle East in 48 hours...

Bill Nelson seeks new authority for president against Islamic State

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U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), a strong advocate for attacking the Sunni extremist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria, today introduced a joint resolution giving the President authority to use force against the group in Sy...

Personal loss won’t stop philanthropist’s 9/11 fundraiser

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For those who were alive and cognizant on that day, Sept. 11, 2001 will always evoke memories and emotion.

Budget crunch impacts National Guard training

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Thanks to budget cuts, this month’s weekend training for most of the 9,000 Florida Army National Guard troops won’t be mandatory.

Kristin Beck film tells ex-SEAL’s transgender story

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Kristin Beck says that in February 2013 she was beat up in Ybor City, sucker-punched from behind for being transgender.

Ex-Centcom leader blasts Obama's Iraq approach

- Anthony Zinni says he is “worried” by President Obama's cautious approach to the current crisis and the Sunni insurgent group Islamic State.

Veterans tell VA trials at Bill Young Center town hall meeting

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Starting last months, officials from the Veterans Benefits Administration in Oklahoma began sending packages of benefit claims awards — notification that veterans would be receiving the benefits they earned ȁ...

VA retaliation lawsuits near final phase

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For Kendra DiMaria, a former law enforcement officer with the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System police department, her problems with management began in the summer of 2009 when a supervisor began making sexual innuendos, ac...

‘Spirited’ exhibit opens at Tampa Bay History Center

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It was an era that changed American behavior in ways no one could have anticipated.

Betty King Culbreath-Gibbons dies at age 92

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Betty King Culbreath-Gibbons, who was married to two of Tampa’s most influential men, lived a life of public service.

Sharing intel can backfire for U.S.

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One of the biggest security challenges the U.S. faces is how to share intelligence in a world where it’s been at war at one point with some of its closest friends, you never know who tomorrow’s enemy will b...

Army Gen. Votel takes over command of Socom

- Army Gen. Joe Votel became the 10th commander of U.S. Special Operations Command this afternoon in a ceremony at the Tampa Convention Center.

Nelson will seek authority for use of force in Syria

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Sen. Bill Nelson, just back from a trip that took him to Turkey and Ukraine, says he will raise the issue of the use of U.S. force in Syria against the Sunni insurgent group Islamic State when the Senate returns from vac...

McRaven made troops' health his top priority

- Navy Adm. Wililam McRaven, commander of the Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base the past three years, is passing the reins to Army Gen. Joe Votel.

Military involvement called into question in court case

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The 35-year-old man from Miami headed to Clearwater in January, according to court documents, thinking he was going to meet up with Emily Millerson, who placed a personal ad on Craigslist soliciting opinions on which bra...

Hostage rescues fraught with danger, ex-commandos say

- When a secret raid to rescue journalist James Foley and others came up empty handed, it wasn’t a surprise to those who have planned and taken part in such missions in the past.

Tampa woman to be honored at White House ceremony

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A Tampa woman, whose husband serves at MacDill Air Force Base, is one of 11 people who will be honored by the White House for “doing extraordinary work across the country as leaders in entrepreneurship,” ac...

Services in St. Pete for decorated Marine who stirred outrage

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TAMPA — The body of Marine Cpl. Rob Richards, a St. Petersburg native and war hero who touched off international outrage through a video showing him and three others urinating on dead Taliban fighters, is coming h...

Tactics against journalists in Ferguson threaten rights of all

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In Ferguson, Missouri, heavily armed police in heavily armored vehicles were responding to protests over the police shooting of an unarmed black teen by firing off tear gas and dragging reporters out of McDonald’s...

Congress seeks more information on VA deaths

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TAMPA — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald has ordered a review of the VA’s national consult database, an independent review of the consultation process and clarification by a top VA official of ...

MacDill hurricane hunters to get $35 million overhaul

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“Miss Piggy” is getting new wings.

Tampa's Iraq veterans have big hopes for Kurds

- As Islamic State militants rolls across Iraq, one Tampa resident keeps a constant vigil on the man he says is the Iraqi military’s best hope to stop the bloody advance.

Florida group meeting on growth strategies for defense industry

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In 2012, military spending in the three-county Tampa region accounted for nearly $14 billion in economic output, 141,000 jobs and represented about 7 percent of the economies of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties, ...

Sen. Nelson headed to Ukraine; says U.S. should arm Kiev government

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Sen. Bill Nelson, gearing up for a trip this week that will take him to Ukraine, the Baltic states and Turkey, departed from the Obama administration’s more measured approach and called for providing lethal arms t...

Center will help former MacDill service members stay in Tampa

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Every year about 1,200 to 1,500 service members from MacDill Air Force Base leave the service.

Tulley takes MacDill helm as Iraq airstrikes ordered

- Even as Air Force Col. Daniel Tulley assumed command at MacDill Air Force Base, the importance of the Tampa facility and its mission was highlighted by events nearly 7,000 miles away.

MacDill’s Col. DeThomas discusses his command as it reaches end

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A week before assuming command of the 6th Air Mobility Wing two years ago, Col. Scott DeThomas got a taste of what he was in for as the officer in charge of MacDill Air Force Base, a 5,700-acre facility with more than $2...

Slain general explained mission in letter

- The one-page handwritten letter from Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene now seems as haunting as it was heartfelt.

Surveillance camera removed from VA office in St. Petersburg

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A surveillance camera set up outside of the office of the union representing workers at the Veterans Benefits Administration St. Petersburg Regional Office has been removed, union officials say.

Bay Pines VA meetings set to explain care improvements

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The director of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System will hold a new series of meetings with veterans service organizations, Congressional district office staff and other “stakeholders” to explain “eff...

Mold forces relocation of Haley hospital patients

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TAMPA — About a half dozen patients in the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital Spinal Cord Injury Center had to be moved and a hallway sealed off after mold was discovered in an area near the patient care sec...

Lakeland fighter-jet company seeks state funds for expansion

- The world’s largest collection of tactical air support fighter jets is stored inside a 100,000-square-foot hangar across from the flight line at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.

McRaven named only finalist for University of Texas chancellor

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If everything goes as planned, Adm. William McRaven, the outgoing commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, will be setting aside his gold Navy SEAL trident next year for the orange longhorn emblem of the University ...

Family seeks justice in shooting of pregnant woman

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A day after her sister died from a gunshot wound to the head, Kayleigh Bryan says her family is “destroyed” and wants charges brought against the man deputies say fired the fatal shot.

Socom’s McRaven a contender for University of Texas chancellor post

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Watch out University of Texas students.

POW recalls time in Stalag 7a and his run to freedom

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On Nov. 16, 1944, Albert Torchia, an Army private from Verona, Pennsylvania, was holed up with his squad from the 104th Division in a house in the German town of Stolberg.

Automated car takes test drive on Selmon Expressway

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Following behind a small phalanx of Audis traveling down an otherwise empty stretch of the Selmon Expressway’s elevated lanes, Kaushik Raghu takes his hands off the steering wheel of the gray 2012 Audi A7 with a v...

Pregnant woman, child die in shooting

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A pregnant Citrus County woman and the child she was carrying have died after the woman was shot in the head in what Hernando deputies are calling an accident at a friend’s home in Brooksville.

Woman escapes, dog dies in Riverview barn fire

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A Riverview woman escaped a fire in the pole barn where she was sleeping, but her small dog perished, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue officials say.

Socom change of command set for late August

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Army Gen. Joseph Votel will officially take the helm of U.S. Special Operations Command during a change of command ceremony Aug. 28, at 2 p.m. at the Tampa Convention Center.

Senate approves Votel as Socom commander

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Joseph Votel, newly minted Army four-star general, will become the 10th commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.

Gen. Austin expresses concern about Iraq security

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After a 24-hour visit to Iraq where he met with senior U.S. officials and Iraqi leaders across the political spectrum, the commander of U.S. Central Command said he is “very concerned about the current security si...

St. Pete VA center camera riles union

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A week after a former employee and union official testified before congress about problems at the Veterans Benefits Administration St. Petersburg Regional Office, management installed a surveillance camera outside the of...

VA committee demands records from St. Pete

- Despite a demand from the House committee, the Veterans Benefits Administration in St. Petersburg failed to explain why it fired an employee days after he delivered a scathing report.

MacDill may get $32 million in upgrades for new jets

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MacDill Air Force Base will likely receive about $32 million in upgrades to accommodate eight new KC-135 refueling jets scheduled to arrive here over the next few years, according to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.