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Athletes take part in the archery competition at the 2019 Warrior Games at the Tampa Convention Center.
Carrie Pinkard / WUSF Public Media

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jimmy Covas stood with his eyes closed, pointing an air rifle at a target. He took three deep breaths, opened his eyes, and then pulled the trigger.

Covas is one of the 300 athletes competing in the 2019 Warrior Games.

To keep up with potential adversaries such as China, the Pentagon is teaming with civilian technological innovators and trying to adopt some of the practices of the private sector.

President Trump's restrictions on transgender troops moved a step closer to taking effect, even as several lawsuits challenging the policy remain unresolved.

Under the Trump administration, the military is shifting its strategy back towards more traditional warfare.

The average military family moves every two to three years. Their household goods are supposed to move with them, but that doesn’t always happen ... and some families say the military doesn't do much to help.

This month’s mass shooting at a Texas church has raised questions of whether the military does enough to help former service members with bad conduct discharges. They're not eligible for veterans' mental health care.  

The U.S. has seen an increased rate of suicide among its veterans, and those deaths can change the lives of family and friends forever. This week on Florida Matters, our special two-part program on veteran suicide and the impact it can have on comrades and loved ones continues.


Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

The Department of Veterans Affairs has grown increasingly concerned about the rise in veteran suicides in recent years.

This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the impact these deaths have on comrades and loved ones, and what support is available to help them heal. It's the first episode in a special two-part program on this issue.


Attorney General Pam Bondi is touting her new initiative launched last month to help Florida’s military service members and veterans—the target of scams.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The teenagers graduating this spring were still in diapers when terrorists attacked the United States September 11, 2001. Yet, many of the high school graduates are stepping up to join the military despite the ongoing "war against terror" and recent tensions in Syria and North Korea.

Thousands of military households rely on government food assistance programs, but the Pentagon doesn't track how many service members have trouble feeding their families.

Federal Voting Assistance Program

In 2000, the Florida ballots of overseas service members were a key point of controversy in the Bush vs. Gore election.  Now, 16 years later, little has changed for most overseas troops, who still have to vote absentee mostly through international mail.

It’s hard to find anything more quintessentially American than the artwork of Norman Rockwell.

The Tampa Museum of Art has.

It’s offering free admission to Rockwell’s art today to military, veterans and their families. The exhibit, American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hal Faulkner, a gay man whose last wish came true earlier this month when his discharge from the U.S. Marines was changed from "undesirable" to "honorable," has died.

NPR's Quil Lawrence, who told Morning Edition listeners about Faulkner last week, says that the 79-year-old Faulkner died Tuesday in Florida.

westonvida.com

Twelve-year-old Florida singer-songwriter Savannah Maddison has become a national icon after founding a national letter-writing campaign for soldiers serving overseas. And she'll be in Tampa over the weekend.

Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes

World War II veterans on an Honor Flight from Mississippi pushed their way through barricades to visit Washington, D.C. memorials Tuesday, the first day of the federal government shutdown, according to the Stars and Stripes.

Stanley Leary

Sunday is Mother’s Day -- normally a time for celebration.  But it's sometimes tough to celebrate when mom is home and the kids are serving overseas in the military.

So here are some suggestions on how to support a military mom from Dorie Griggs, a proud mother of a Citadel graduate currently serving in Afghanistan:

Photo courtesy of the Gordon family.

National Public Radio featured a St. Petersburg female soldier in its first piece for a series on "Women in Combat."

Reporter Quil Lawrence talks to the father of  Spc. Brittany Gordon who was killed in October 2012 while on a mission to meet with Afghan intelligence, north of Kandahar.

Florida Sequestration Effects by the Numbers

Feb 25, 2013
whitehouse.gov

If the "Fiscal Cliff" wasn't enough to worry about, then how about a sequestration? The word sounds like the name of an ominous spaceship falling from the sky but in reality, it means across-the-board budget cuts - which could be just as bad the spaceship.

The cuts are supposed to take effect March 1st.

How would they affect Florida?

Here's how the White House put it if the sequestration does take effect:

Simon & Schuster, Inc.

The Special Forces Qualifications Course - known as the Q Course - is demanding training that turns traditional fighters into unconventional warriors - Green Berets.

Special Forces prize wit and stamina as much as physical strength. The Q Course also tests leadership - it's an atmosphere that demands improvisation to respond to unstable surroundings.

Here, author Tony Schwalm reads a section of his book from when he moved into the second part of the Q Course that focused on team building.

Tony Schwalm

Tony Schwalm commanded a tank company in Desert Storm, but it left him with a gnawing feeling that the mission was incomplete. So, he gave up the status he’d earned in the conventional Army to forge a new path as an “unconventional warrior” - a Green Beret.

Schwalm not only made it through the Special Forces Qualifications Course – known as the Q Course - he was later brought back to help redesign the test of physical strength, stamina and wits.

USF is hosting the first ever "Remember Our Heroes" concert and field party this Saturday. The event will benefit Soldiers' Angels, a non-profit group that lets people provide aid and comfort to military members serving overseas, as well as veterans and their families.

USCG

The 100th Anniversary of the Coast Guard Cutter TAMPA will be celebrated in Tampa with public tours of the vessel Saturday.

Photo Courtesy of Still Picture Branch (NNSP) of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Attention all veterans. The Library of Congress is asking you for one more patriotic act.  It’s calling on veterans from all branches and all eras to share their stories.

From harrowing moments to mundane reflections, all accounts are valued by the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

Bobbie O'Brien

If Congress fails to pass a revised budget, automatic, across-the-board budget cuts will take effect January 1st. Three Republican senators held a “town hall” in Tampa Monday to emphasize how that could devastate national security and the military, but they also offered a solution.

The three senators are breaking with the GOP leadership and calling for a compromise before the automatic cuts go into effect.  They want Democrats and President Obama to join them.

Senator John McCain cautioned, without action, the military and communities will lose jobs.

(PHOTO/Chase Anz, Viewer Bay News 9)

An Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo plane carrying 23 passengers and19 crew made an unscheduled landing at Tampa's general aviation airfield, Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Islands just south of downtown.

Video of the landing courtesy of Ryan Gucwa can be seen on the website Aviation News in the Raw.

The runway at Peter O. Knight is much shorter than most military landing strips, at only 3,400 feet, and used mostly by small private aircraft and helicopters. The runway at MacDill AFB is 14,000 feet long by comparison.

Bobbie O'Brien

Navy veteran Dave Nicholson is on a mission to raise public awareness about the role of private contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq and to dispel myths about their work.

The fit, 56-year-old visited WUSF’s studios and talked with reporter Bobbie O’Brien as part of our ongoing series, Off the Base, that focuses on the lives of military families and veterans.

Efforts to reduce the national deficit could mean massive job losses for Florida if the Department of Defense has to comply with the automatic spend cuts scheduled at the end of 2012.

People lined up the streets in Downtown Tampa today to honor fallen army Staff Sergeant Ricardo Seija who died in Afghanistan earlier this month.

One of the more than 50 people who lined up on the corner of Bayshore Boulevard and Bay to Bay Boulevard was Stuart Taijeron.

He calls himself a military brat and says today's escort was personal to him.

"So I left work and brought my family out to show them some of the aspects of where we should have pride and who we should appreciate," he said, " I mean our true heroes versus some of the things we see on TV."

Over the next two days, MacDill Air Force Base will serve as the transfer point for two Tampa Bay Area fallen soldiers killed in a bomb blast two Sundays ago in Afghanistan.

Arriving Today

The transfer for Army Staff Sgt. Ricardo Seija is scheduled today, Tuesday at 11 a.m. under the care of the Air Force 6th Air Mobility Wing and with Seija's family on the flightline to welcome him home.

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