Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Howard Altman, Times staff writer

Howard Altman, Times staff writer

Howard Altman covers the military, national security and veterans issues for the Tampa Bay Times. Prior to coming to Tampa, where he covered the same beat for the Tampa Tribune, Altman was an editor and columnist at the Philadelphia City Paper. He has won more than 50 journalism awards and when he's not working, he likes to fly in old airplanes, fish and snorkel.

A satellite image shows the Syrian Barzah Research and Development Center in greater Damascus, before the April 13 attacks. [Maxar News Bureau]

Howard Altman: Tampa company analyzed strike on Syrian facilities

After President Donald Trump announced the U.S., France and England had carried out attacks on three Syrian chemical weapons centers, a Tampa company began its own analysis of the bomb damage.The analysis, by geospatial intelligence firm...
Published: 04/20/18
The antics of the Phillie Phanatic are familiar to fans who attend games at Spectrum Field, the spring training home of the National League's Philadelphia Phillies.  [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times (2015)]

Howard Altman: Air Force turns to original Phillie Phanatic to develop mascot

Air Mobility Command, the Air Force headquarters overseeing MacDill Air Force Base, wants to develop its own mascot to help interest children in a career with the flying branch. And they are turning to the original Phillie Phanatic, David Raymond, for...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/12/18
Army Gen. Joseph Votel speaks with a Navy sailor during a visit to the USS New Orleans. Over Votel's shoulder, approaching the American ship, is an Iranian war vessel. [Howard Altman   |   Times.]

Howard Altman: Syrian pullout creates concerns

Speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace on Tuesday, Army Gen. Joseph Votel did not sound like a guy who was planning on pulling American forces out of Syria."We are in Syria to fight ISIS," Votel said about the Sunni jihadi group. "That is our...
Updated one month ago
In Tampa on Monday 4/2/2018, Gov. Rick Scott signs bills streamlining access to government services  for veterans and their families. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Times]

Gov. Scott signs bills designed to keep Florida ‘military friendly’

Gov. Rick Scott came to USAA's headquarters in Tampa Monday morning for a ceremonial signing of two laws designed to keep Florida "the nation's most military friendly state."Scott signed bills designed to reduce fees for Florida military,...
Updated one month ago
Nyla, a 2-year-old pit bull mix, is one of three dogs accused of killing five pet goats in December. [Hillsborough County Pet Resources Center]

Civic leader with dogs accused in goat deaths has history of complaints about his pets

To many in Brandon, John Noriega is a respected pharmacy owner and civic leader, one recently honored for his service to the community.But to the people who live in his bucolic Lithia neighborhood of sprawling farmsteads, there is another side...
Updated one month ago
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn mans a .50 cal machine gun during the 2014 
International Special Operations Forces demonstration in Tampa. [Luis Santana | Times]

International commandos to show off capabilities in Tampa again in May

Be afraid Mayor Buckhorn.Be very afraid.The bad guys might be after you again.You know the ones. They show up every other year in Tampa and capture you, only to see you rescued by a cadre of international commandos swooping in on...
Updated one month ago
The NOAA Hurricane Hunter WP-3 Orion nicknamed Miss Piggy is parked on the flight line at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa before the start of a weather reconnaissance mission. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times (2016)]

Why did they muster out Miss Piggy? Test your Tampa Bay military IQ

A new commander took charge this month at MacDill Air Force Base, overseeing one of the base's major tenants — the 927th Air Refueling Wing.MacDill, the sprawling waterfront property at the tip of the South Tampa peninsula, is the center...
Updated one month ago
Elastic lines like these take the place of traditional chains in an experiment the Coast Guard is conducting across Tampa Bay. The Coast Guard hopes the new buoy-morring lines, which expand and contract, will reduce scouring of the sea floor. [ALESSANDRA DE PRA   |   Times]

Coast Guard testing elastic buoy lines to prevent chains from scouring reefs

TAMPA BAY — The Coast Guard cutter Joshua Appleby rocks gently from side to side, a sure sign that the 175-foot-long, Keeper-class buoy tender is under way."The weather conditions are a little windy," says Danielle Elam, project...
Updated one month ago
Parts of Saigon were left in rubble during the Tet offensive in February 1968, a turning point in the Vietnam War. An Quang Pagoda, a Viet Cong launching point for the Saigon attack, is at the top of the photo. [AP photo]

State, county ceremonies to ‘welcome home’ Vietnam-era vets

Five decades after the nation became embroiled in Vietnam, the wounds have yet to fully heal. But officials in Florida are taking steps to finally welcome home the half a million residents who served during that era."It is important that a day...
Updated one month ago
The main gate into MacDill Air Force Base is on South Dale Mabry Highway. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Times]

MacDill’s main gate closed to traffic; FAA restricts flights over base

TAMPA — The Dale Mabry gate at MacDill Air Force Base was shut down to traffic as the result of a traffic stop Monday afternoon, base officials say."Our security forces are responding to a routine traffic stop at Dale Mabry," said Air Force 2nd...
Updated one month ago