Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Second general tied to Tampa socialite Jill Kelley kept low profile in Tampa

TAMPA — Marine Gen. John R. Allen served at MacDill Air Force Base in the shadow of a boss with a household name and a reputation for courting good press — Gen. David Petraeus.

Allen now shares an uncomfortable spotlight with his former commander at U.S. Central Command.

Allen, 58, is the subject of a Pentagon investigation about thousands of emails he exchanged with Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, who helped bring to light Petraeus' affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Allen's pending nomination as U.S. European and NATO commander is on hold.

Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, served at CentCom headquarters as deputy commander for nearly three years ending in June 2011, most of that time under Petraeus. Allen then served as CentCom's acting commander for six weeks after Petraeus' departure.

MacDill commanders have a tradition of forging ties to the Tampa Bay community during their relatively short two- to three-year stints in Tampa.

But owing to the demands of the job, the kind of personal ties Petraeus and Allen apparently made with Kelley are surprising to those who attend military functions around Tampa Bay.

"They're usually way too busy for those sorts of things," said David Braun, a founder of Haley House Fund, a local charity.

It's not as if, he said, you will run into someone like Allen or Petraeus at the local Walmart.

CentCom leaders, who live on base, work at a blistering pace. For the commander, travel is a near constant, either to the Middle East or Washington. And when the chief leaves MacDill's protective bubble, the logistics can be daunting. They often travel with several aides and a security contingent.

CentCom and other MacDill leaders still manage to attend events both inside and outside MacDill. Both generals visited local veterans hospitals or charitable events.

Local business leaders and political officials sometimes were invited to dinner with CentCom's commander. Charles Brown, a Tampa businessman who frequently volunteers at the base, attended such a dinner with Petraeus and his wife. "It was a nice opportunity to see him," Brown said, "because you don't get the chance to see them much. They don't have a lot of free time."

Those who have met Allen said he has a talent for making civilians feel at ease.

Gerard Abbett, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Brandon and volunteers for a local military charity, said Allen noticed him at a function and walked over and gave him a big hug. "I said, 'General, when I was in the military, I couldn't get within 30 feet of someone like you,' " Abbett said.

A Virginia native, Allen is a 1976 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a love of military history. He joined the Marine Corps as an infantry officer and received a master's degree from Georgetown University.

"Allen is more professor and Southern gentleman than hard-bitten Marine general," a May Washington Post profile said. "He is unfailing polite and prone to measured locution. He devours tomes of military history while others are in bed — he sleeps only about four hours a night — and he sets aside several hours each week 'to think about big ideas.' "

William R. Levesque can be reached at levesque@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3432.

Second general tied to Tampa socialite Jill Kelley kept low profile in Tampa 11/13/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 11:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Kremlin dismisses U.S. warning of chemical attack in Syria (w/video)

    World

    .1103< AP-EU-Russia-Syria,252

    Eds: Rewrites top.

    MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin on Tuesday dismissed the White House's warning that the Syrian government is preparing a new chemical attack and that President Bashar Assad and his military "will pay a heavy price" if it goes ahead.

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, third right, prays on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the Nouri Mosque in Hama, Syria, Sunday, June 25, 2017. [SANA via AP]
  2. EU announces record $2.7 billion antitrust fine on Google over search results

    Business

    BRUSSELS — The European Union's antitrust chief announced a record $2.7 billion fine against Google on Tuesday, saying that the powerful company illegally steered users toward its comparison shopping website.

    The European Union's competition watchdog has slapped a record 2.42 billion euro ($2.72 billion) fine on internet giant Google for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service. [Associated Press file photo]
  3. Forecast: Muggy, warm conditions across Tampa Bay as afternoon storms stay mostly east of I-75

    Weather

    A muggy and slightly wet day is in on tap for Tampa Bay as most of the rain sticks east of Interstate 75 in the afternoon.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Trigaux: No more VinikVille as Water Street Tampa finally arrives

    Business

    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.&#13;[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]&#13;
  5. Finally, Jeff Vinik's vision has a name: Water Street Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — For years, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and the real estate executives he employs have been dreaming how to transform 53 acres of downtown Tampa into a major hub of living, working and entertaining in the city's core.

    Strategic Property Partners announced the name of its new development: Water Street Tampa. This rendering shows the Tampa skyline with SPP's future buildings in place. [Photos courtesy of SPP]