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Saturday, Aug 30, 2014

Altman, Howard

Tribune Staff
Altman, Howard

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...

Soldier forced to stay in uniform or lose benefits

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TAMPA — After nearly 20 years in uniform, Army Lt. Col. T.G. Taylor wants to retire.

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.

MacDill among best bases in rankings by Air Force Times

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MacDill Air Force Base, the only military installation in the world home to two U.S. combatant commands, may be loved in the Tampa area, but it was tied for sixth best in

Rebels might have thought jet was military, Ukrainian colonel at MacDill says

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TAMPA — The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine might have happened because Russian-backed separatists thought the passenger plane was a military aircraft, a colonel in the Ukraine army s...

DigitalGlobe training satellites on Ukraine

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DigitalGlobe, a satellite imagery company with an office in Tampa, is training its eyes in the sky on Ukraine as the result of a passenger plane Ukrainian authorities say was shot down with nearly 300 passengers and crew...

Friends, family say farewell to St. Petersburg veteran

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As thunder boomed, lightning crackled and an honor guard fired volleys into the air, family and friends gathered around a kiosk at the Bay Pines National Cemetery to bid a final farewell to a beloved soldier.

Director tops salary list at VA St. Pete Regional Office

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The highest paid employee of the Veteran Benefits Administration’s St. Petersburg Regional Office — the nation’s busiest VA claims processing center — has a salary of $152,536, according to in...

Testimony: VA criticism led to St. Pete layoff

- Javier Soto, a former VA specialist in St. Pete who was among those to appear before a House committee, testified about his experience at the office and problems there.

VA salaries, bonuses plentiful in Tampa area

- When it comes to compensation, the Bay area has some of the best compensated Veterans Affairs employees. Many are physicians earning more than $350,000 a year.

New leader takes command of MacDill refueling wing Sunday

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Command of the 927th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill Air Force Base will be changing hands Sunday at 9 a.m.

Lawyers needed to help veterans cut red tape

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St. Petersburg-based lawyer Matt Weidner devotes a good deal of time helping veterans navigate the legal system.

Family, dogs barely escape early morning house fire in Tampa

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TAMPA — Mikesha Shaw was sleeping on the couch by the window of her home at 207 W. 26th Ave. when she felt heat.

Flags, fun and patriotism abound at Brandon parade

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BRANDON — Trent and Addison English sat on yellow plastic chairs, waved red, white and blue American flags and had no real idea of the significance of the events swirling around them.

Tampa area mourns death of popular wounded soldier

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Ever since returning from Afghanistan, where he was severely injured when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in 2010, Army Sgt. Thongpane Thongdeng touched a lot of lives in the area’s military communi...

Vet meets official from threat investigation

- Days after armed agents showed up investigating whether he made a threat against a top Veterans Administration official, St. Pete veteran Michael Henry met with that official to discuss his care.