A military blog by Howard Altman
From Afghanistan to the Alafia, Command Post Tampa is your local military news source.
The big news in Pakistan today wasn’t in Pakistan.
It was here in Tampa, where Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif met with the commander of U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin III.
Here in Tampa, it didn’t even make the radar screen, what with nearly 200 representatives from more than 30 nations ensconced at MacDill Air Force Base plotting the demise of the Islamic State.
Iranian general Ghasem Soleimani, head of that nation’s Qods Force, has long been a target of American interest and unhappiness.
And for good reason.
Qods Force, which in many ways is the Iranian equivalent of our special operations forces, has been a big player in Middle Eastern turmoil.
By Howard Altman
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.
But until Wednesday morning, the operation had no name.
It does now. Operation Inherent Resolve, according to U.S. Central Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society, highlighted for its work with homeless veterans when Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald visited Tampa last week, has received $3 million in VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families grants.
The grants - $1.5 million each for work with homeless veterans in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties - will enable the society to take its program to Hillsborough according to officials of the St. Petersburg-based organization.
The Hillsborough County grant is new, while the Pinellas grant is a renewal, according to society spokeswoman Marilyn Brownlee. The society is also in the third year of a three-year, $6 million grant from VA.
Does all this news about the global Ebola pandemic or the pending threat of Islamic State jihadis attacking the homeland have you worried about your safety?
The folks at Liquidity Services Inc. might have just what you are looking for.
The Washington D.C. -based government surplus liquidator is auctioning off two 296-square-foot steel shelters, once used by the military for secure storage.
As a lifelong Mets fan, I know what it is like to root for a team on the wrong side of the win-loss ledger.
So I feel a kinship with Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Withers, of Tampa, who is currently stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.
Withers, in a video provided by the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System, offers a “shout out” from Germany to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Ever since bombs and missiles began hitting Islamic State targets in Iraq on Aug. 8, U.S. Central Command and its Air Force component, Air Forces Central Command, have kept a running total of the number of the number of airstrikes against both Islamic State and the Khorasan Group, the location and how many individual flights, known as sorties, have taken place.
Just this morning, Centcom released the latest hit list. U.S. fighter, attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 airstrikes Thursday and today.
In Iraq, five airstrikes south and southwest of Kirkuk destroyed three Islamic State Humvees and one Islamic State vehicle, disabled two Islamic State armed vehicles and damaged one Islamic State mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle. One airstrike west of Baghdad destroyed an Islamic State guard shack, an armed vehicle and a bunker. One airstrike near Al Qaim destroyed four Islamic State armed vehicles, a command and control node and a checkpoint.
The world’s most famous KC-135 Stratotanker air refueling jet hails from MacDill Air Force Base.
A blast of videos of aerial attacks on Islamic State targets in Syria, distributed by U.S. Central Command and seen around the world, includes a 77-second YouTube video of a KC-135 refueling F-16s that were part of the first strike package to hit IS targets in Syria Sept. 23.
The green-hued video, using night vision technology, shows an F-16 approaching the tanker as the boom operator carefully guides the refueling boom down to the bomb-laden fighter to offload fuel.
The war in Afghanistan may be drawing to a close, but it is still a very dangerous place.
Just this week, the Pentagon announced three more deaths, including one civilian contractor, bringing the total, by my count, up to 2,335 U.S. service members who have died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the nation’s longest war.
And there are tens of thousands of troops deployed around the world, including about 1,600 in Iraq, which is also a very dangerous place.
Aside from being briefed by Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, on plans to hit Sunni insurgent group Islamic State targets in Syria, President Barack Obama spent about 20 minutes Wednesday with in a private meeting with Centcom’s international coalition leaders at MacDill Air Force Base.
The meeting highlighted the importance of the coalition as Obama, who has yet to approve the plans he heard at Centcom, seeks to build a broad international consensus for efforts against IS.
During the 20-minute, coalition-only session, Obama “expressed his gratitude to the members of the coalition and highlighted the importance of the coalition for the ongoing effort of countering the ISIL,” Danish Brig. Gen. Frank Lissner, the coalition chairman, told me in an email.