Friday, July 20, 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.

Can a ‘Green Alert System’ help veterans in crisis?

Can a ‘Green Alert System’ help veterans in crisis?

The first time I met Don Bolduc was in his office in Kabul, where he served as commander of the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command, Afghanistan. He is an Army brigadier general and I was there to talk about operations to improve...
Published: 07/19/18
Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Jaime Lugo, Bravo Company of the 1-124th Infantry Battalion
Florida Army National Guard Pfc. Haeder Alanbki participates in exercises last week at Camp Blanding near Starke.\uFEFF

Iraqi interpreter who risked life helping U.S. troops fights for citizenship

Haeder Alanbki, an Iraqi living in Orlando, applied to become a U.S. citizen in 2016.
Published: 07/16/18
JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times (2014)
Four radiology technicians say rules aren\u2019t being followed in scheduling tests at James A. Haley Veterans\u2019 Hospital\uFEFF in Tampa.

Were veterans’ radiology tests wrongly canceled? VA includes Haley in national audit

TAMPA — Federal investigators are looking into allegations that officials at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital canceled hundreds of patient radiology exams without following safety guidelines and then tried to cover it up.The exams had been...
Published: 07/09/18
Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman welcomes participants June 27 for a two-day summit on suicide among veterans. [Courtesy of Marti Ryan]

Howard Altman: Hillsborough joins new national military suicide prevention effort

Florida veterans have a significantly higher rate of taking their own lives compared to the national veteran suicide rate, according to the most recent data released by the Department of Veterans Affairs.But in Hillsborough County, that figure...
Published: 07/06/18
Al-Qaida was a focus when President George Bush created the National Counterterrorism Center in 2003. Bush got a tour two years later from Interim Director John Brennan. The center faces new challenges today as Joe Maguire of Tampa awaits confirmation as the new director. [AP (2005)]

Trump’s counterterrorism pick is Joe Maguire of Tampa, now helping commando families

TAMPA — The intelligence leader who keeps tabs on terrorist threats and communicates them to the nation will be a retired vice admiral from Tampa, if President Donald Trump has his way.For the past five years, former Navy SEAL Joe Maguire has...
Updated one month ago
TAILYR IRVINE   |   Times 
Lt. Gen. Giovanni Tuck, 18th Air Force Commander, pins Col. April Vogel in recognition of the Legions of Merit Award during the the 6th Air Mobility Wing change of command ceremony at the MacDill Air Force Base on Friday, June 29, 2018 in Tampa.

New chief calls MacDill ‘crown jewel’ of Air Force’s mobility command

TAMPA — Air Force Col. Stephen Snelson, the new leader of the host command at MacDill Air Force Base, called his new assignment a career pinnacle as he took over the 6th Air Mobility Wing at a ceremony Friday."MacDill Air Force Base is the...
Updated one month ago
Years of work with special operations forces, like the troops who demonstrated their capabilities in downtown Tampa last month, will help the Tampa company Lukos execute its share of a new $2.4 billion contarct with the Army. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]

Howard Altman: Three Tampa firms win rights to bid on $2.4 billion Army contract

In a move that could mean more high-paying defense contracting jobs for the Tampa area, three local firms have been awarded the rights to bid on work through a $2.4 billion Army contract.Calhoun International and a combined effort by two other...
Updated one month ago
The tattoo on Justin Gaertner's left elbow is a Titan 2, symbol of his platoon in Afghanistan. A twitter war erupted over whether it is a Nazi-associated Iron Cross. [Twitter]

Writer resigns from ‘New Yorker’ after twitter flap over Pasco Marine’s tattoo

Talia Lavin, whose tweet about a Pasco veteran’s tattoo implied he was a Nazi, has apologized to him and resigned from her position as a fact-checker at the New Yorker magazine.But in another tweet, Thursday evening, Lavin also lashed...
Updated one month ago
Peter Nolan of St. Petersburg, shown here aboard the amphibious docking ship New York, had been denied benefits after military evaluators disagreed about whether he qualified for them. [Courtesy of Peter Nolan (2012)]

Howard Altman: Long fight for benefits pays off for St. Petersburg veteran with PTSD

Peter Nolan, a combat-wounded Marine veteran from St. Petersburg, was reading a Navy memo last week about his ongoing battle for benefits and his eyes filled with tears.The five-page memo concluded that Nolan, 39, was the victim of an...
Updated one month ago
Justin Gaertner, a computer forensic analyst, has a cross tattoo that sparked a Twitter storm this week. Gaertner, who lost his legs to an explosion in Afghanistan, received an apology from the magazine writer who started the exchange when she said the tattoo looked like a Nazi symbol. [CHRIS URSO   |   Staff]

New Yorker magazine apologizes to combat-wounded Pasco veteran over staffer’s Tweet

The New Yorker magazine has apologized to a combat-wounded Pasco County veteran about a tweet posted by one of its staffers.Over the weekend, New Yorker staffer Talia Lavin wrote in a tweet that a tattoo on the left elbow of...
Updated one month ago