Friday, September 21, 2018
Military News

Howard Altman: Marine pushing for Warrior Games in Tampa wins medals

Back in July, Mike Nicholson, a Marine who lost three limbs in Afghanistan, was earning gold medals in the Defense Department's Warrior Games.

Last month in Toronto, Nicholson continued his winning ways at the Invictus Games.

"It was life-changing," he said.

The Invictus Games, featuring wounded, ill and injured veterans and service members from around the world, was the brainchild of Britain's Prince Harry. He was inspired to create the international competition by his visit to the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado.

The third edition of the Invictus Games, Sept. 23-30, hosted more than 550 competitors from 17 nations competing in 12 adaptive sports.

Nicholson competed in several, doing particularly well in swimming events.

He won a gold medal for the 50-meter backstroke.

"It was my worst stroke, but I got my best personal time," he said.

He won two silver medals, in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle, and a bronze medal in the 50-meter breaststroke.

He was also on the Team USA wheelchair basketball team, which won a gold medal.

"This was a slightly bigger scale than the Warrior Games," said Nicholson, one of several veterans from the area who competed. "But the same competitive atmosphere and brotherhood was still there."

During the games, Nicholson said he got to meet a number of famous people.

"Talking to Prince Harry is just like talking to one of the guys," Nicholson said. "He's incredibly humble and cares very much about how the families were enjoying the games."

He added, "President Obama visited the U.S. basketball team before a preliminary game along with Vice President Biden, his wife and Prince Harry. It was really motivating to have that support before a game."

Nicholson, 28, won six gold medals in July's Warrior Games and was inspired to try to bring them to Tampa in 2019.

U.S. Special Operations Command, with headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, has expressed interest in hosting the games here.

City Councilman Luis Viera was the first to jump on pushing to get the games here, introducing a council measure that passed unanimously.

The City Council sent a letter to SOCom, noting the command's strong relationship with the community. That was followed by letters from Rich Homans of the Tampa Bay Partnership and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, who wrote to SOCom's commander, Army Gen. Raymond A. "Tony" Thomas III.

Viera said the effort continues to gain traction.

"We have the support of the entire delegation of the County Commission, as well as Mayor Bob Buckhorn in writing and from the greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and these letters have been sent over to the Department of Defense," he said.

•••

The Department of Defense announced last week the deaths of four soldiers who were part of a joint U.S. and Niger training and advising mission.

Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Wash.; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Ga.; and Sgt. La David T. Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens died Oct. 4 in southwest Niger as a result of enemy fire. All soldiers were assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C. The incident is under investigation.

There have been 2,347 U.S. troop deaths in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan; 43 U.S. troop deaths and one civilian Department of Defense employee death in support of the follow-up, Operation Freedom's Sentinel in Afghanistan; 39 troop deaths and two civilian deaths in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the fight against the Islamic State; one troop death in support of Operation Odyssey Lightning, the fight against Islamic State in Libya; and one death classified as other contingency operations in part of the global war on terrorism.

Contact Howard Altman at [email protected] or (813) 225-3112. Follow @haltman.

Comments
Sunk by torpedo a century ago, USS Tampa left a legacy of protection

Sunk by torpedo a century ago, USS Tampa left a legacy of protection

As dusk was settling in over the Irish sea, a German submarine spotted a lone ship steaming toward England’s Bristol Channel.The U-boat dived to attack. About half an hour later, it fired a single torpedo.In his battle notes, the commander, Kapitänle...
Published: 09/20/18
Howard Altman: Tampa World War II veteran turning 100 recalls guarding prisoners then celebs

Howard Altman: Tampa World War II veteran turning 100 recalls guarding prisoners then celebs

Frank Sorbera was a band boy for the Russ Morgan Orchestra, lugging equipment and driving vehicles, all the while hoping to one day join the big band outfit as a singer.But it was 1944, World War II was grinding on and Uncle Sam had other plans for t...
Published: 09/13/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Saved by a hunk of marble, Trinity man recalls harrowing escape from World Trade Center

Saved by a hunk of marble, Trinity man recalls harrowing escape from World Trade Center

TAMPA — Shortly before 9 a.m. on a beautiful morning 17 years ago, Greg Amira was making his way up to his office on the 73rd floor in the south tower of the World Trade Center.He felt the building shake."I assumed Building No. 1 was hit," Amira said...
Published: 09/11/18
Updated: 09/12/18
Experts say it’s likely Cuba embassy workers were sickened by ‘directed energy’ weapons

Experts say it’s likely Cuba embassy workers were sickened by ‘directed energy’ weapons

There is a "high probability" that U.S. embassy workers sickened in Cuba in late 2016 were attacked by a "directed energy" weapon, a biochemistry expert told officials from U.S. Special Operations Command and its Ybor City-based incubator partner Sof...
Published: 09/06/18
Updated: 09/07/18
World War II nurse, turning 100 in Tampa, recalls the pain of invisible wounds

World War II nurse, turning 100 in Tampa, recalls the pain of invisible wounds

TAMPA — During her time as an Army nurse in World War II, treating the wounded in North Africa, Normandy and the Ardennes Forest, Martha Cameron proved to be a pioneer in more ways than one.One of the first women to land in France after D-day, part o...
Updated one month ago
SOCom is asking to see all kinds of drones, some for delivering blood to the battlefield

SOCom is asking to see all kinds of drones, some for delivering blood to the battlefield

On a far-flung battlefield, 100 miles from the nearest treatment center, a Navy corpsman signals for a small drone to bring life-saving blood to a wounded commando.Meanwhile, a tiny drone shaped like a bug spies on enemy leaders. Another small drone ...
Updated one month ago
Howard Altman: Carrollwood veteran gets hero’s welcome retrieving dog tags from Normandy

Howard Altman: Carrollwood veteran gets hero’s welcome retrieving dog tags from Normandy

Nearly 75 years after first coming ashore in France as a young Army soldier, Boris Stern returned this summer to offer thanks to those who helped return his long-lost dog tag.He arrived to a hero’s welcome."I’ve been all over the world," said Stern, ...
Updated one month ago
Paralyzed veteran finishes fund-raising wheelchair ride from New York to Pinellas Park

Paralyzed veteran finishes fund-raising wheelchair ride from New York to Pinellas Park

TAMPA — A paralyzed veteran has finished a two-week, $1,500 fund-raising ride that started in New York, setting out from Tampa at 9 a.m. today in his hand-crank cycle and reaching the finish line in Pinellas Park just before 1 p,m,Ricky Raley is rais...
Updated one month ago