Bobbie O'Brien


Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.

Bobbie also produces the blog, Off the Base, and covers military affairs, veterans’ issues and military families. She was named a Rosalyn Carter Fellow in 2010-2011. She supervises WUSF’s news interns and frequently contributes to NPR programs.

Prior to joining WUSF, she worked at WTVT- TV as a researcher/segment producer, at the Tampa Tribune and at WFLA-TV. She attended Kent State University and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from the University of South Florida in 1980.

Her work has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Inc., American Women in Radio & Television, the Florida Associated Press and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.


Off The Base
8:52 am
Fri December 19, 2014

When Fishing Is About More than the Fish

One of the free outings offered by the Central Florida Chapter of Heroes on the Water.
Credit Heroes on the Water Central Florida Chapter / Facebook

The number of Gulf War era veterans is growing as is the list of non-profit organizations formed to help returning service members.

Heroes on the Water is a top-rated, all-volunteer non-profit organization formed specifically to provide free therapeutic recreation to veterans of all eras, active-duty military and their families.

Florida has seven chapters many of which offer events year round.

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6:03 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Rays Ready to 'Cash In' with New Manager

New Rays Manager Kevin Cash (left) and Matt Silverman, ays President of Baseball Operations.
Credit Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Rays new manager held his first news conference on “home turf” Monday with only 72 days before catchers and pitchers report for Spring Training.

Sitting at a table under the glare of TV lights, Tampa native Kevin Cash told reporters he expects the reality of becoming a Major League manager will hit him as soon as the news conference concludes.

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Off The Base
8:41 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

A Way for Veterans to Help Their Families

Credit Department of Veterans Affairs

Military service involves more than the person wearing the uniform – families are always a part of that equation.

A team of three University of South Florida psychology doctoral students and a graduate of the School of Social Work are conducting a research study looking at how reintegration affects military veterans and their children.

Their focus looks at how veterans are “reintegrating” to both civilian and academic life and also examines the student veterans’ well-being and that of their children.

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Off The Base
11:27 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Leave No Veteran Behind Smart Bikes

Rob Walk of Leave No Veteran Behind shows the YouTube video of their Smart Bike at the Sarasota Veterans Legacy Summit.
Bobbie O'Brien WUSF Public Media

Bringing together veterans’ service organizations to share ideas and create networks was one of the goals of The Patterson Foundation’s Veterans Legacy Summit that concluded last weekend in Sarasota.

It brought one veteran to Florida to share how he’s using his mechanical background to inspire kids on Chicago’s Southside.

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Off The Base
7:34 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Combat Vet to Commemorate Patriot Plaza

Army combat veteran Wes Moore is a New York Times bestselling author, executive producer for the PBS Series "Coming Back with Wes Moore," and the keynote speaker commemorating Sarasota's Patriot Plaza.
Credit Courtesy of Wes Moore

Saturday in Sarasota they’re holding the national commemoration of Patriot Plaza. It’s the 2800 seat amphitheater and art installation built to honor veterans and their families at Sarasota National Cemetery.

The keynote speaker for the capstone event is best-selling author Wes Moore – a former paratrooper and veteran of the Afghanistan War.

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Off The Base
2:38 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

10 Ways to Celebrate Veterans Day

Credit Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Have you missed the Veterans’ Day parade or the ceremony at your local VA National Cemetery?

Well, there’s still time to show your appreciation for the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. Here are a few suggestions you can practice year-round:

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Off The Base
1:49 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Veterans' Day Events 2014

Credit Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Throughout Florida and the nation, events, special shows and business discounts are scheduled to recognize veterans, their families and those who are currently serving. Keep checking back for updates.

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Off The Base
10:08 pm
Sat November 8, 2014

Medal of Honor Recipient on A New Mission

Army MSgt. Leroy Petry (right) poses for a photo with an unidentified veteran after his speech at USF in Tampa.
Bobbie O'Brien WUSF Public Media

Living Medal of Honor recipients are somewhat rare. There are only 79 living out of nearly 3,500 recipients since the highest military honor was created during the Civil War.

So, it was no surprise that 200 students, veterans and members of the public came out to hear Medal of Honor recipient Master Sergeant (Ret.) Leroy Petry deliver the keynote address at the University of South Florida Veterans Day Ceremony in Tampa.

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Off The Base
7:42 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Listen: Medal of Honor Recipient Leroy Petry

Army Ranger Master Sergeant (retired) Leroy Petry.
Credit Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Recently retired Army Ranger and Medal of Honor recipient Master Sergeant Leroy Petry delivered the main address Tuesday at a ceremony honoring student veterans at the University of South Florida. Petry, like many of the student veterans in the audience,  is taking on a new mission, college, starting a business and spending more time with family.

You can hear his full speech to the USF audience of about 200 people here:

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Off The Base
4:18 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Veterans Legacy Summit Registration

Credit The Patterson Foundation

The WUSF Veterans Coming Home project is partnering with The Veterans Legacy Summit hosted by the Patterson Foundation. The multi-day summit offers a wealth of events from art walks and a free concert with the West Point Band to the keynote address by best-selling author Wes Moore.

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Florida Matters
5:26 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Art in Action at Veterans' Open Mic Night

Veteran Frank (Left), Playwright Linda Parris-Bailey (center) and Andrea Assaf, director of Art2Action, on stage at the Veterans Open Mic Night.
Bobbie O'Brien WUSF Public Media

Beyond the battlefield and the barracks, some of Florida’s 1.5 million veterans have had trouble transitioning to civilian life. Yet, there are signs that poetry, art and performance are helping veterans adjust.

With Veterans’ Day approaching, we bring you their stories this week in a special edition of Florida Matters.

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Off The Base
6:36 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

USF Veterans Hosts Medal of Honor Recipient

Master Sergeant Leroy Petry (US Army Ret.) is the keynote speaker at the USF Veterans Day Ceremony which is free and open to the public.
Credit Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Student veterans at the University of South Florida will celebrate Veterans’ Day a week early with a Veterans Expo and Ceremony on Tuesday followed by a Chili Cook-Off Wednesday at the Tampa campus.

A Medal of Honor recipient who did six tours in Afghanistan is the keynote speaker at the USF Veterans Day ceremony scheduled for Nov. 4 at 11 a.m. at the amphitheater outside the Marshall Center.

The USF Office of Veterans Services and Student Veterans Association will honor Army Ranger Master Sergeant (Ret.) Leroy Petry.

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Off The Base
7:15 am
Fri October 31, 2014

VA Secretary Praises Sarasota's Patriot Plaza

An evening view of Patriot Plaza Amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery.
Steven Brooke The Patterson Foundation

Problems with veterans’ health care and benefits have dominated recent headlines. But there is one section at the Department of Veterans Affairs that ranks first in customer satisfaction over both private-sector companies and other federal agencies.

That’s a point VA Secretary Bob McDonald was quick to point out when he visited Florida earlier this month. The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) is ranked first in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

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Off The Base
5:37 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Seeking Solutions for Veteran Suicide

Credit Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Veteran suicide is a real and present problem in the community. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that on average 22 veterans die by suicide every day.

That’s a straightforward statistic for a very complex problem.

Calling it a growing and troublesome trend, U.S. Representative Kathy Castor of Tampa organized a roundtable to discuss what is being done in the Tampa Bay area to prevent veteran suicide.

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Off The Base
3:22 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Chili Cook-Off Connects Veterans on Campus

Naming your chili is half the fun of participating in the annual Chili Cook-Off, sponsored by the USF Office of Veterans Affairs.
Credit Office of Veterans Affairs / USF

Over the last five years the University of South Florida Office of Veterans Services has worked to raise its visibility among the estimated 1,400 student veterans on campus and provide them resources.

One way USF Veterans Services has gained a lot of notice is its annual Chili Cook-Off.

This year, the Office of Veterans Services 5th Annual Chili Cook-Off is scheduled 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 5th at the Marshall Center Amphitheater on the Tampa Campus, 4202 E. Fowler Ave.

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