Saturday, January 20, 2018
Military News

Iorio: Tampa's relationship with military is more than one couple's parties

TAMPA — Look at Tampa's relationship with MacDill Air Force Base only through the experience of Dr. Scott and Jill Kelley, and it's easy to get the wrong idea about the city, former Mayor Pam Iorio says.

"The relationship with the military is being seen through the eyes of this particular story," Iorio said Wednesday. But "our relationship with the military is very deep and sincere and represents thousands of people. This one couple and their parties are not really representative of what we do for the military."

To the contrary, she said, Tampa's larger engagement with MacDill, Central Command and Special Operations Command manifests itself in Thanksgiving dinners for CentCom's coalition partners, in local families hosting international officers, in the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Council (and the base's $6.7 billion impact on the Tampa Bay area's economy), in residents supporting the spouses of those serving abroad and through the flag-waving of the Bayshore Patriots.

Iorio has done a range of interviews with national media this week — the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press and Reuters — partly to make that point, she said.

Still, like other leading citizens in Tampa, Iorio knows the Kelleys and their cause.

"Jill is high-energy — very social and a tireless hostess," she said. "She has focused on the military since I first met her."

That introduction goes back to 2003, after Iorio was first elected mayor. The Kelleys called her office and invited her to a military-oriented reception they were hosting — Gen. Tommy Franks, then the commander of CentCom was among the guests — in the private room of a local restaurant.

Later Jill Kelley told Iorio she wanted to become more involved in the community, so Iorio began looking for things Kelley could "pour her energy into." In 2009, Iorio appointed her to the board of the Henry B. Plant Museum, and, after a three-year term, Mayor Bob Buckhorn re-appointed Kelley this year at the museum's request.

Another perspective on community relations with MacDill comes from John Stross, co-owner of Leverock's seafood restaraunt in Pasadena.

Stross said he has met Jill Kelley at several functions at MacDill, but doesn't know her personally and has never been to her home for an event.

But he has been invited to and attended many functions with dignitaries at MacDill, presumably because he helped raise money for various local charities. After getting his first invitations, "I didn't ask why. I assumed they wanted community voices. I didn't ask how I got the invite. I can't speak for the vetting."

Yet even with invitations to the functions, he says it is difficult to gain access to military officials when not at events. He says he could not pick up the phone and get a top general to meet him for breakfast or attend a party at his house.

The base has a protocol office that vets people who attend the functions and gain access to officials, he said. The profile: "All community leaders. They are upstanding citizens."

Times staff writers Richard Danielson and Mark Puente contributed to this report.

Comments
That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

TAMPA ó If you hear loud noises coming from MacDill Air Force Base over the next few days, donít be alarmed.Itís the sound of flying hogs.A squadron of A-10C Warthogs, beloved by troops in the field for their ability to swoop low and slow and tear ap...
Published: 01/19/18
Sands of war return a relic: Carrollwood man's dog tag

Sands of war return a relic: Carrollwood man's dog tag

TAMPA -†In December 1944, Boris Stern climbed into an abandoned pillbox with his men, seeking refuge from the cold and rain as allied troops assembled on a Normandy beach to crush struggling Nazi Germany once and for all. But some of the men went ba...
Published: 01/19/18
Howard Altman: Tampa Bay Frogman Swim expects to raise more than $600,000

Howard Altman: Tampa Bay Frogman Swim expects to raise more than $600,000

Credit Terry Tomalin, the late, great Tampa Bay Times outdoor writer.Well, partly.In 2010, over a cup of coffee, Tomalin, the outdoors-fitness editor for then- St. Petersburg Times, suggested that a 17-year-old named Sam Farnan accompany him on a swi...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18
Navy files criminal charges in connection with deadly ship collisions, including negligent homicide

Navy files criminal charges in connection with deadly ship collisions, including negligent homicide

Washington PostFive Navy officers involved in ship collisions that killed a combined 17 sailors last year will face a variety of criminal charges, including negligent homicide, the service announced Tuesday night.The individuals include Cmdr. Bryce B...
Published: 01/17/18
Vultures drawn by fish killed during cold snap pose hazard for MacDill flights

Vultures drawn by fish killed during cold snap pose hazard for MacDill flights

TAMPA ó The recent cold snap has been more than just an inconvenience for Floridians. Itís been tough on fish and potentially hazardous to flights at MacDill Air Force Base.The National Weather Service says temperatures in early January fell to as lo...
Published: 01/16/18
Hawaii false alarm hints at thin line between mishap and nuclear war

Hawaii false alarm hints at thin line between mishap and nuclear war

Nuclear experts are warning, using some of their most urgent language since President Donald Trump took office, that Hawaiiís false alarm Saturday, in which state agencies alerted locals to a nonexistent missile attack, underscores a growing risk of ...
Published: 01/14/18

Leaked draft of Pentagonís nuclear review shows desire for new kinds of weapons

A leaked draft of the Pentagonís forthcoming nuclear weapons review shows that senior defense officials are keen to not only modernize the aging U.S. arsenal, but add new ways to wage nuclear war as Russia, China and other adversaries bolster their o...
Published: 01/13/18
Howard Altman: Gasparilla to honor first female four-star general

Howard Altman: Gasparilla to honor first female four-star general

The military’s first female four-star general will serve as the Community Hero for the 2018 Gasparilla Pirate Fest. The Community Hero is an individual living in the Tampa Bay area who offers courage, strength and self-sacrifice in the service...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18
CentCom investigating video that appears to show a service member opening fire on a civilian

CentCom investigating video that appears to show a service member opening fire on a civilian

The U.S. military is investigating a video posted to YouTube that appears to depict a U.S. service member opening fire on a civilian driving a truck in Afghanistan, U.S. military officials said.The video, apparently recorded on a camera attached to a...
Published: 01/11/18
2019 Warrior Games coming to Tampa

2019 Warrior Games coming to Tampa

TAMPA ó The 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games are coming to Tampa.U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson made the announcement Monday after receiving a letter from the Pentagon.In a recent letter, the Pentagon informed Nelson that the games, which drew about 5...
Published: 01/08/18