1. Military

MacDill Air Force Base visitor center set to stop accepting some driver's licenses as ID

Beginning Thursday, MacDill Air Force Base will no longer accept forms of identification from states and territories that have not met standards established under the federal REAL ID Act.

The act was launched in 2008 to boost the standards required to get a state identification card. It was, in part, a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, in which most of the jihadis involved had driver's licenses from Florida and Virginia.

The Air Force said earlier this year that it was still evaluating how it would proceed after the Pentagon said enforcement would begin last October.

The states that had failed to meet the standards of the act at that time were Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Washington.

Individuals from the states and territories affected must provide alternative forms of identification at the visitor center in order to be granted access on base, MacDill said.

Approved alternative forms of identification include a U.S. passport, a passport card and a resident card/alien registration receipt card (Form I-551). A complete list is available at the MacDill website (

"It will have little effect on common access card, retiree, and dependent ID card holders because their card is an authorized credential to access the base," said visitor control center supervisor Kevin Siharath. "The only time it will affect them is, for example, if they do not have their military ID on them and have a noncompliant license."

Times staff

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"There is lightning within in five nautical miles."

Military members working or living on MacDill Air Force Base often hear this automated message through their work computers.

"Mid June to mid September is when most lightning occurs in our area," said Master Sgt. Christopher Furtado, flight chief of the weather office assigned to the 6th Air Mobility Wing.

During a storm, it is important that anyone outside find shelter indoors.

"In the past 10 years, there have been at least 15 incidents of lightning striking objects and or people on MacDill; luckily no one was fatally injured," said Jason Jackson, occupational safety manager assigned to the wing's safety office. "There have been numerous property damage incidents from aircraft, to ground equipment, to facilities. This list doesn't include all the times that transformers, wiring, internal equipment, and trees have been struck."

Excerpted from the MacDill Thunderbolt newspaper

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This is excerpted from a commentary that appeared on the MacDill Air Force Base website by Maj. Ryan Garlow, 91st Air Refueling Squadron Commander:

"The KC-135 has been a part of the Air Force for 90 percent of its 69 year history and in my humble opinion has been the glue of the Air Force.

"The aircraft has touched nearly every mission and aspect of the Air Force that I can think of, which is only part of the reason I love the KC-135 as much as I do.

"The second and most personal reason is that I am the third generation of my family to be qualified in a variant of the KC-135. My grandfather finished his last six years as a KC-135A navigator stationed between Larson Air Force Base, March AFB, and Amarillo AFB as part of Strategic Air Command. He also flew combat missions in Vietnam earning an Air Medal in the process.

"My dad followed suit, and after being an electronic warfare officer in the B-52, he went on to fly the KC-135 at test pilot school, qualifying in tail 60-0377 which served as the B-2 avionics test bed for the B-2 test program.

"With a lifetime of Air Force flying heritage before my eyes there was nothing else I could see myself doing but following in their proud footsteps."

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The Pentagon reported no new deaths in support of ongoing operations.

There have been 2,347 U.S. troop deaths in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan; 23 U.S. troop deaths and one civilian Department of Defense employee death in support of the follow-up, Operation Freedom's Sentinel in Afghanistan; and 18 troop deaths and one civilian death in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the fight against the Islamic State.

Times staff