Sunday, May 27, 2018
Military News

Marine Corps designates standalone command at MacDill

TAMPA — The Marine Corps designated its new central command at MacDill Air Force Base as a standalone headquarters for its Middle East forces with a brief ceremony Monday.

The leader of the Marine Corps Forces Central Command, or MARCENT, had previously split his time between MacDill and Camp Pendleton in California.

That general had been responsible for MARCENT's 15,000 Marines in the Middle East, in addition to 45,000 assigned to Pendleton.

Now, Lt. Gen. Robert B. Neller will be based at MacDill and focus all of his efforts on Marine forces in the Middle East.

His troops fall under the umbrella of U.S. Central Command, or CentCom, which also is headquartered at MacDill.

From a staffing standpoint, the move does not bring any additional personnel to MacDill, the Marine Corps says. About 150 people are assigned to MARCENT's MacDill headquarters.

"This is important for the Marine Corps and for Central Command," Neller said. "Up until now, there has been one officer who had two hats. By virtue of having two different jobs ... you end up having to split yourself. You can't be entirely focused on the one assignment.

"It ... shows commitment to Central Command. It doesn't show a lack of commitment anywhere else."

Neller said the importance of Central Command's area of responsibility was demonstrated by recent events, including the Taliban attack Friday on a U.S. base in Afghanistan that killed two Marines and destroyed at least six Harrier jets.

Referring to the base attack, Neller said: "I'm confident we'll come up with a way to prevent this from happening again. There's a war over there. The enemy gets a vote. For a short period of time, they did what they did. But all of the attackers, except for one we captured wounded, they're no longer able to do this type of thing again."

Why create the standalone command now?

"I would say the events of the past week answer that question by itself," Neller said.

Marine Gen. James Mattis, Central Command's commander, said at the ceremony that having a MARCENT commander focused only on the Middle East would be useful.

"We look for men who enjoy fighting, if it comes to that," Mattis said. "The maniacs who attacked us on 9/11, they thought that by hurting us, they could scare us."

Referring to Marines gathered for the ceremony, Mattis said, "We don't scare."

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

Comments

Security troops on U.S. nuclear missile base took LSD

WASHINGTON — One airman said he felt paranoia. Another marveled at the vibrant colors. A third admitted, "I absolutely just loved altering my mind." Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are among the most powerful in Ame...
Published: 05/24/18
Their job was to guard our nuclear missiles. Their crime was buying, selling and using LSD

Their job was to guard our nuclear missiles. Their crime was buying, selling and using LSD

WASHINGTON — One airman said he felt paranoia. Another marveled at the vibrant colors. A third admitted, "I absolutely just loved altering my mind." Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are among the most powerful in Ame...
Published: 05/24/18
Commandos to unleash fury in downtown Tampa, but it’s just a demonstration (w/video)

Commandos to unleash fury in downtown Tampa, but it’s just a demonstration (w/video)

TAMPA — Machines of war will unleash their fury in downtown Tampa on Wednesday afternoon, but it’s just a demonstration.Special operations forces from around the world are scheduled to stage a mock confrontation of good guys versus bad guys from 1:30...
Published: 05/23/18
Shopping Tampa for Ukraine commandos: Bomb-sniffers, drones and laser-proof sniper scopes

Shopping Tampa for Ukraine commandos: Bomb-sniffers, drones and laser-proof sniper scopes

TAMPA — Like a homeowner combing Home Depot for his latest project, Roman Mashovets spent a good part of Tuesday wandering the floor at the Tampa Convention Center.But instead of nails and plywood, Mashovets — a former Ukraine special operations forc...
Published: 05/23/18
CentCom’s Votel: U.S. will stay in Syria to fight ISIS and keep an eye on Iran

CentCom’s Votel: U.S. will stay in Syria to fight ISIS and keep an eye on Iran

TAMPA — In March, President Donald Trump said he would be pulling U.S. troops out of Syria "very soon." But they’re still there, and will stay there, to defeat what’s left of the so-called Islamic State, says the man in charge of military efforts in ...
Published: 05/22/18
As special ops conference opens in Tampa, CentCom works to ease commandos’ burden

As special ops conference opens in Tampa, CentCom works to ease commandos’ burden

TAMPA — As thousands of people flock to Tampa for the annual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, the general in charge of U.S. forces across the Middle East along with Southwest and Central Asia said efforts are underway to reduce the stra...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18
Trump announces he will nominate acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to become department’s permanent leader

Trump announces he will nominate acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to become department’s permanent leader

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Friday that he plans to nominate Department of Veterans Affairs Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie to become the department’s permanent leader, noting that the decision may come as a surprise to Wilkie."I’ll ...
Published: 05/18/18
McDonald’s giving away free food to military members today

McDonald’s giving away free food to military members today

TAMPA— All current and former military service members in central Florida can stop by their local McDonald’s and grab a free burger today.In celebration of Military Appreciation Month, McDonald’s is giving away a "Taste of Thanks." All veterans and c...
Published: 05/17/18
Howard Altman: MacDill chosen to sell new Army-like Air Force uniforms

Howard Altman: MacDill chosen to sell new Army-like Air Force uniforms

Home to headquarters including U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base is at the forefront of a lot of important military action.Now it is taking on a new role — as a prime Air Force clothier.The flying branch...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
MacDill reviewing transportation plans after crowds jam roads for AirFest 2018

MacDill reviewing transportation plans after crowds jam roads for AirFest 2018

TAMPA — Tampa Bay AirFest 2018 pulled in a whopping 150,000 people and more over three days last week, including practice on Friday.But that proved to be more people than the transportation plan could handle, delaying arrival by hours for some and pr...
Published: 05/17/18