Friday, November 24, 2017
Military News

MacDill Air Force Base program lets civilians like Jill Kelley on base without escort

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — The socialite whose friendship with CIA director David Petraeus touched off a sex scandal that led to his resignation had an ID issued by MacDill Air Force Base allowing her daytime visits to the base whenever she desired.

The ID first issued to Jill Kelley in November 2010 was revoked on Tuesday pending a Pentagon investigation, MacDill officials say.

The ID is one of about 800 issued by MacDill's 6th Air Mobility Wing in a program called Friends of MacDill, which allows select civilians who pass a background check to visit MacDill without being accompanied by someone with a military ID.

The wing serves as something akin to a landlord for other commands at the base, including U.S. Central Command. Petraeus was CentCom's chief from 2008 to 2010. The wing is in charge of base security, and its armed personnel stand watch at MacDill's entry gates.

The program was launched in late 2010 by Col. Lenny Richoux, former wing commander who now serves in Europe.

Kelley obtained the ID four months after Petraeus left CentCom in June 2010 to take command of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. His deputy commander, Marine Gen. John Allen, served as CentCom's acting chief for six weeks after Petraeus' departure.

Kelley's pass was renewed in February 2012.

Allen is himself ensnared in the controversy surrounding Kelley and Petraeus. The Pentagon is investigating emails between Allen and Kelley that may have been inappropriate, according to published reports.

In a recent interview with the Tampa Bay Times, the wing's current commander, Col. Scott DeThomas, described Friends of MacDill as a successful program allowing civilians to visit MacDill's two golf courses, eat at one of several restaurants or go bowling, among other activities.

DeThomas said ID holders "tend to be very active on base."

Richoux told the Times last year that one of the rationales for the program, aside from forging beneficial ties to the community, is to help generate revenue for MacDill's recreational outlets.

"Some people have told me they've lived their whole lives in Tampa and never set foot on the base," Richoux said last year. "They always wondered about what happens here. So I said, 'Well, come on down and see. This is federal property. This belongs to you.' "

The program was by invitation only, and Richoux said he had invited Tampa Bay area business and civic leaders.

Pass holders are fingerprinted and undergo a background check. Some high-security areas of MacDill are off limits and visits are limited to daylight hours.

Timm Sweeney, who runs an international marketing and research firm in Tampa, told the Times last year that the program builds goodwill for the base in Tampa.

"MacDill has a very good vetting process," he said. "It's not like they're just inviting any crazy on the base."

Richoux said Friends of MacDill was approved by Air Force officials, and he said that he also sought the approval and advice of officials at CentCom and U.S. Special Operations Command, which also is located at MacDill.

MacDill declined to release the names of the people on the access list.

William R. Levesque can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3432.

Comments
SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

When Ryan Cleckner was an Army Ranger sniper in Afghanistan, he had as many as nine rifles he would use in different situations. But whenever a mission would evolve quickly, he would have to choose which ones to lug onto a helicopter. Even narrowing ...
Published: 11/22/17
Howard Altman: SS American Victory will host cruise to mark Pearl Harbor Day

Howard Altman: SS American Victory will host cruise to mark Pearl Harbor Day

Looking for a unique way to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day and celebrate the military’s nautical traditions?Check out the SS American Victory, which will set sail Dec. 2. for a two-hour cruise at 1:30 p.m.Registration will begin at noon to ride the car...
Published: 11/22/17
U.S. Navy plane with 11 aboard crashes into Pacific; 8 rescued

U.S. Navy plane with 11 aboard crashes into Pacific; 8 rescued

TOKYO — Eight people were rescued and three remained missing after a U.S. Navy plane crashed into the western Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, the Navy said. The C-2 "Greyhound" transport aircraft came down about 500 nautical miles (925 kilometers) southe...
Published: 11/22/17
Sex assault reports declining at MacDill despite increase militarywide

Sex assault reports declining at MacDill despite increase militarywide

TAMPA — The number of sexual assaults reported to officials at MacDill Air Force Base has decreased dramatically during the past three years even as reports across the military have increased slightly, new Pentagon statistics show.Officials at MacDil...
Published: 11/20/17
Cyber firm accesses CentCom cloud information, gives command low security score

Cyber firm accesses CentCom cloud information, gives command low security score

Every day, military and civilian personnel stationed at the MacDill Air Force Base headquarters of U.S. Central Command use the Internet to reach out to foreign audiences in an effort to combat Islamic State propaganda.To help measure the success of ...
Published: 11/17/17
VA’s quiet plan to widen private care with TRICARE stirs concern

VA’s quiet plan to widen private care with TRICARE stirs concern

WASHINGTON — As part of its effort to expand private health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been developing plans to merge its health system with the Pentagon’s, a cost-saving measure that veterans groups say could threaten the viability...
Published: 11/17/17
Howard Altman: Missing records confound veterans on base exchange website

Howard Altman: Missing records confound veterans on base exchange website

In the more than three decades that I have been toiling at various paragraph factories, few stories have elicited as much response as the one I wrote about the new program to allow all honorably discharged veterans to shop at military base exchanges ...
Published: 11/17/17
She was an artist who answered a Craigslist ad. Next thing she knew she was best friends with a 93-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor

She was an artist who answered a Craigslist ad. Next thing she knew she was best friends with a 93-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor

University of Miami architecture student Emi Kopke still cannot believe her luck. She answered a Craiglist ad asking for an artist to do hand drawings for a special project. The self-taught artist sent in 15 of her hand drawings — including some of b...
Published: 11/11/17
As fewer serve, burden of war falls heavier on families with tradition of service

As fewer serve, burden of war falls heavier on families with tradition of service

When Lauren Price’s youngest son went off to fight in Iraq in 2008, she handed him a going-away present few parents could offer."I gave him my Iraqi cell phone," said Price, 52, a Navy veteran from New Port Richey who served in the same region of Ira...
Published: 11/10/17
Howard Altman: Army settles flap over who will wear the Green Beret

Howard Altman: Army settles flap over who will wear the Green Beret

I have a hard time picturing Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, a no-nonsense guy with plenty on his plate, taking time out of his busy day sorting through color swatches.But thanks to one of two recent victories in the battle for Army tradition, ...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/10/17