Monday, December 11, 2017
Military News

Pentagon to give gay partners some benefits, officials say

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is preparing to expand benefits to same-sex partners of military personnel, but it remained doubtful that the Pentagon could offer the medical, dental and housing allowances desired by gay and lesbian couples, officials said Tuesday.

Full benefits would require the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, a 1996 law that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Despite lifting the ban on openly gay and lesbian troops serving in the armed forces, the Pentagon cannot recognize their marriages, even if they are legal in some states, because military personnel are federal employees covered by DOMA.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer on whether the law is constitutional.

Officials said Panetta would order benefits that included the issuance of military identification cards to same-sex partners of military personnel, akin to those offered any dependent. That would bring privileges to shop at military commissaries, as well as access to gymnasiums, movie theaters and various family-support programs on bases and posts.

The focus is on those benefits that fall under Pentagon policy and can be changed by the defense secretary, rather than on benefits covered by DOMA.

While not insignificant, an expansion of benefits limited to those privileges would fall far short of the financial benefits given married military couples — including medical and dental benefits and housing allowances. Officials said the final benefits package had not been decided.

Pentagon and military officials spoke to the New York Times about the move on the condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made. Panetta's decision comes as he nears the end of his tenure as Pentagon chief and on the heels of President Barack Obama's broad call for equal rights for gays during his inaugural speech.

Comments
Saturday’s sonic booms likely from F-15 fighters, NORAD says

Saturday’s sonic booms likely from F-15 fighters, NORAD says

Those sonic booms heard across the state Saturday afternoon were likely from two F-15 fighter jets protecting President Donald Trump during his visit to Florida, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.The jets, which belong to the ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Transgender people can enlist in military Jan. 1

Transgender people can enlist in military Jan. 1

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is allowing transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite President Donald Trump’s opposition. The new policy reflects growing legal pressure on the issue, and the difficult hurdles the federal gover...
Published: 12/11/17
Gold Shield Foundation honors Bondi

Gold Shield Foundation honors Bondi

TAMPA — Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was honored by the Gold Shield Foundation, which assists families of first responders killed in the line of duty.At a luncheon Thursday, Bondi received the Philip A. McNiff "Lifetime of Service" award, named...
Published: 12/08/17
Local vets remember Pearl Harbor

Local vets remember Pearl Harbor

TAMPA — On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Ed Socha and Bill Monfort were several hundred miles away from each other, sharing a horrible moment of reckoning.Socha, 96, was at Pearl Harbor, aboard the USS Oklahoma. Bill Monfort was a radio operator aboar...
Published: 12/07/17

Talking subs, ships and the controversial F-35 with the Navy’s newest assistant secretary

TAMPA — James "Hondo" Geurts, a familiar face at MacDill Air Force Base, was sworn in as the Navy’s newest assistant secretary last week ."I’ll be responsible for acquisition for the Navy and Marine Corps," said Geurts, sitting in a chair on the brid...
Published: 12/07/17
A storage unit opened, and a family’s World War II service and secrets were revealed

A storage unit opened, and a family’s World War II service and secrets were revealed

MESA, Ariz. — The storage unit’s corrugated metal door slid upward, revealing 100 square feet of mostly empty space. Not very promising, thought Joe Alosi, a businessman who bid on units, sight unseen, when tenants stopped paying the rent. Several pl...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Navy’s newest assistant secretary talks ships, subs and jet fighters

Navy’s newest assistant secretary talks ships, subs and jet fighters

TAMPA — Saturday afternoon, just three days before his swearing in as the next Navy assistant secretary for acquisition, research and development, James "Hondo’ Geurts talked about how his old job prepared him for the new one."I’ll be responsible for...
Published: 12/05/17
Stealth jets, other aircraft fly in U.S., South Korean drills

Stealth jets, other aircraft fly in U.S., South Korean drills

Associated PressSEOUL, South Korea — Hundreds of aircraft including two dozen stealth jets began training Monday as the United States and South Korea launched a massive combined air force exercise. The war games come a week after North Korea test-fir...
Published: 12/04/17

Altman: County’s Veterans Park to commemorate Pearl Harbor with memorial, new center

Every year, Americans pay homage to those killed on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.This year, in Hillsborough County, the commemorations will take on additional meaning.Hillsborough County and local veterans welcome two major a...
Published: 11/30/17
Updated: 12/04/17
Two sailors from Florida, one from Louisiana die in Navy crash

Two sailors from Florida, one from Louisiana die in Navy crash

MIAMI — The U.S. Navy says two sailors from Florida and another from Louisiana died in an aircraft crash in the Philippine Sea. In a news release, the Navy’s 7th Fleet said the families of Lt. Steven Combs and Airman apprentice Bryan Grosso of Florid...
Updated one month ago