05/18/2016 ESTABLISHMENT GOALS AND PURPOSE
The USCENTCOM Memorial Foundation, Inc., is a non-profit, federal and Florida State registered organization, in compliance with code 501 [C] . We are publicly funded, and accept donations to complete the Memorial at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida. No taxpayer dollars or Federal grants were used other than the land the Memorial is built on, as supplied by the US Air Force.
We are and were about the “TROOPS”. It is not about specific units, branches of service, rank, our board, or individuals. Our focus was clear and defined, we serve and recognize the “TROOPS” and those who have paid the ultimate price in service to their country under the control and direction of the Central Command. They are all heroes…
It is our purpose to keep you informed. All of our funds have be raised by donation and we are stewards of those funds. With that said, any information about our Corporation, the Memorial, its Membership and Personnel may be obtained by writing to the President or staff which consists of our VP-secretary and Treasurer.
Other personnel, or those making claims, are not authorized to make statements. After a fifteen years in existence, the foundation today in 2016 the Centcom Memorial Foundation has completed its task, advancing as far as we could bowing to the priorities and needs of our Armed Forces.
Numerous delays after delays have taken three year project and dragged it beyond imagination. Much can be blamed on a series of wars with no name, except for mission titles, but you can’t call it war, owing tot he rules of being politically correct. We have fallen back in our attempts to expand and upgrade the project. We wish to make it very clear that our organization is now small in numbers, only three have stayed the course, the other nine went their ways not helping with the challenge.
The Un-named war effort turned things upside down. When our project started in 2001, the KIA count at that time was measured in a few hundred. Today the KIA toll is over 7000+ and the wounded count is at 50000+. Our project represents one side of the heavy price the troops have paid. It also means some original plans had to be scrapped midstream twice and the project changed in terms of the finishing to reflect the "the branding” and the significant changes to the base.
We lost our architect and friend who gave so much, he passed away. Our staff is reduced to three and we are all suffering from acute retirement age, those years. Money is tight, donations slim, and cooperation is tight, on behalf of the base, almost too tight because of the DOD and frankly we are not a priority of war. Regardless of what it is called we are at war, people are dying militarily and civilian.
The Central Command Memorial structure is 86% complete at MacDill AFB. It stands proudly in front of two new additions to MacDill, namely the CENTCOM building and the Joint Intelligence Command Headquarters Building, part of the growth and revitalization of MacDill AFB. The hospital is new too as well as other ancillary facilities on the base.
RED TAPE COMES IN MANY SHADES OF RED
We have had an uphill battle in the completion of this Memorial.
- Much of which bares no blame, no ones is to fault for what they did, but for what they didn’t do. You can blame it on terrorism and delays arising from the needs of the war extending as long as we have been in existence, 2001, before 911.
- The construction of the new buildings to house the Command and the Joint Forces Intel Buildings, left us in the basement of things.
- The changes from the DOD as to security and access are both understandable and necessary in lieu of the fact several incidences have taken place at the base mainly involving high ranking individuals and parties, undignified relationships and a lot of folks in the Tampa Bay area. They were on the same list we were for access at that time and things changed. Our working relationship with the Command, the base and the memorial became more difficult.
- We are the good guys and no one came forward from the Central Command, the Air Force Base Command, and we got passed off from the Command to the Base Command who moved us to the Engineers. Without a sponsor access to the base became a nightmare. The time wasted in standing on lines, parking and securing a base pass became a nightmare and even tougher when the DOD got into the act after some very embarrassing events took place at the base.
- The game changers meant we had to redraw basically the entire project since the materials we had originally planned to use [Black Granite and a slab configuration] went over the government gifting budget to a less expensive option of tiles and held in place [temporarily] with removable clips and screws called rosettes. We had no other option to meet the cost reduction to comply with Washington. The rosettes had a shelf life [maybe a year or two] and their purpose was to temporarily hold the inscribed tiles in place till they were inscribed and then epoxied permanently into place.
- When we were transferred to the base operations the CENTCOM project had to be reviewed by the JAG. This was a complete waste of time, money effort and not exactly a morale builder. Spending over a year, 16 months, with the JAG as to paperwork and Congressional cost controls on a fully civilian funded operation, no government money needed was another setback. We wasted fifteen months to make sure the “I’s were dotted and the “T”s crossed. They (JAG) found nothing wrong except for fifteen months lost. Contracts to be redone, faulting our progress. And the costs were rising for what we needed for the project to be done after the housing bust. Simply put rebar, workers paychecks and concrete went up.
- Less I forget, adding insult to injury, our paperwork, somehow got lost on at that time the 21st SEC of Defense, “ War Chief” Rumsfeld’s desk. The initial paperwork got lost or it just got ignored in Washington. Resubmitted as rules were changed as to what the funding could, can, or must be. No one could get answers or direction. Our project simply did not fall into anyones in basket.
- Frequent changes in command at the Base Command level, hurt us. When no one knows who you are, you get politely shoveled away. The wars everlasting and budget constraints, not to mention the publics view of the wars that simply got us nowhere and paid for so far with 7000 of our friends, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, husbands, wives…and daddies…
- When we made friends with those in the Command, it seems the personnel we worked with were deployed, retired, or re-assigned to the AOR theatre. We had many friends and some didn't come home. Thats what our job is all about. They will be remembered.
- It has taken almost fifteen years, six CENTCOM Commanders, four or five base Commanders, since the project was first envisioned. And surprisingly enough we have only been invited to CentCom once to discuss the issue over this period of time.
- Let me explain the uniqueness of our position. We are a civilian organization, - GIFTING - dedicating a Memorial to the soldiers and families of CENTCOM Headquarters, which in turn is basically a "tenant" on an Air Force base. The chain of legality and ethics dictates that we must gift the Memorial to the Air Force. Centcom is basically a renter on the base. If you think Washington is bad, combine the Military and Congress, different branches, changes in personnel trying to get things done and it amazed me to have put up with it this long.
- The past fifteen years has been a struggle to find out "who is on first, whats on second and no one knows where where is” . We had to deal through all three entities. The necessary permits, permissions, acceptances, and approvals by the Base, by the Wing, the Command, the Engineers, and some of their superiors at the Air Force Command Headquarters, then off to Washington, where our paperwork got lost, is normally, not an easy task during peace time. Try it on war footing.
- We felt we would be completed in three to four years. Never happened and the time started to take its toll. All the other members from our board side have passed on, left for other projects, or simply wanted better networking for personal gain which was probably their intent from the beginning. We all understand that. It’s part of any organization with good intent. But age and indifference, our personal health, the worst part being ignored, handed off and reduced to the “C” list makes one reassess the situation.
- The enormity, scope and losses of these two wars changed all that was MacDill. Two wars, a million men and women deployed, and fifteen years in duration radically changes ones thinking a lot. Not to mention the trillions spent on a process which yielded us nothing. We are where we were ten years ago. Except now we have 7000 killed, 50,000 wounded and an unknown number suffering from PTSD, “ The agent orange of the Middle east wars” and in the middle of the Arab winter and it looks like a long winter.
A special thank you to our patrons and friends who realized we have had many pressing moments these past few years. You have a supported the Memorial foundation with patience, friendship and loyalty. You have been the heroes. You have helped us through this long process. Again, thank you ALL for your patience and support. It has taken five times longer than expected, but we were diligent and pressed forth at every opportunity. It is often said “Tampa loves the Military and the Military loves Tampa”. It just not a 100% solid two way deal when Washington, Protocol, Evaluation Reports and Red-tape steps in.
The logo of the Central Command focuses around the Bald Eagle with shield. The Bald Eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 to represent this great nation. Symbolically, it was selected because of its long life span, incredible strength and majestic looks. It represents out basic tenet of FREEDOM.
At that time it was believed to exist only on this continent. It is a survivor, at one time the Bald Eagle was reduced to less than 647 mating pairs, today there are 7,680 pairs. Pairs stay together for life.
It is found on the backs of our gold coins, the silver dollar, the half dollar and the quarter. It is usually shown with outstretched wings. It's most important placement is on the Great Seal of the United States.
The Bald Eagle has since become the living symbol of the U.S.A.'s freedoms, spirit and pursuit of excellence. Its image and symbolism have played a significant role in American art, folklore, music and architecture. It is also the theme for our partners who helped bring this Memorial to fruition. Those whose names appear below have given in heart and spirit, the amounts are not important, their heart speaks louder. These are our Eagles.
🇺🇸 Mr. William L. Edwards 🇺🇸 Anheuser-Busch and Distributors 🇺🇸 Mortgage Investors Corporation 🇺🇸 Pinch A Penny, Inc.
🇺🇸Tampa Electric Company 🇺🇸 OutBack Steakhouse 🇺🇸 Lawrence J. and Florence A. DeGeorge Charitable Trust
🇺🇸 A. Duda and Sons, Inc. 🇺🇸 Lazy days RV Center 🇺🇸SunTrust Bank 🇺🇸 Ambassador John ROOD 🇺🇸 Ms. Carol M. Botsolas 🇺🇸 Ellie Scarfone 🇺🇸 Foley Family Charitable Foundation 🇺🇸 The Pittway Family Foundation
🇺🇸 Peter Rummell - St. Joe Company 🇺🇸 Dick DeVoss 🇺🇸 Beard Foundation, Inc 🇺🇸 Randall McElheney 🇺🇸 Bank of America
🇺🇸 Robert and Jean Walrich 🇺🇸Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. 🇺🇸 David L. and Jeannie Troup 🇺🇸 John F. Kirtley
🇺🇸 Alan Jacobson in Memory of Dolly Jacobson 🇺🇸 Bay Area Imaging Services, Inc 🇺🇸 James L. Ferman Jr.
🇺🇸 Henry J. Binder in Memory of Phyllis E. Binder (Both Served their Country) 🇺🇸 Mr. William Douglas Berry
🇺🇸 Mr. Leslie A. Briggs 🇺🇸 Mr. Paul J. Bein 🇺🇸 Mr. Scott P. Barone 🇺🇸 Ms. Dixi Baker 🇺🇸 The Bob Allen Family Foundation 🇺🇸Ms. Beverly Austin 🇺🇸 Mr. Thomas Arthur 🇺🇸 Anonymous 🇺🇸 Community Foundation of Tampa Bay
🇺🇸 Mr. Renaldo Cruz, 🇺🇸CAE USA INC. 🇺🇸Joseph and Gilda F. Capitano 🇺🇸Martin and Marlyn Cheshes,
🇺🇸Jim and Christina Degenhardt 🇺🇸Mr. Eric Durham 🇺🇸Michael and Carol Foley
🇺🇸 Mr. Steven A. Frohlich, Dale and Marlena Granger 🇺🇸 Ms. Patricia A. Hilley, 🇺🇸Mr. Cedrick V. Harris,
🇺🇸Mr. and Mrs. William Jeter 🇺🇸 Mr. John A. Krasula 🇺🇸 Brian and Linda Ligett 🇺🇸Roger and Jane Kenyon
🇺🇸 Jaimie Kitty, 🇺🇸Ms. Shirley I. Long 🇺🇸 Lt. Gen. Gary Mears and Jacqueline Mears
🇺🇸Joseph P. Monko 🇺🇸 Mr. David L. Mayes 🇺🇸Jim and Susie Marler 🇺🇸 Mr. David L. Miller
🇺🇸Mr. Eddie Orozco, Reeves Import Motor Cars 🇺🇸 Mr. Richard Roy 🇺🇸 Owen and Susan Roberts,
🇺🇸 Suarez Housing Corporation 🇺🇸Mr. George Steinbrenner 🇺🇸 Bruce and Adajean Samson,
🇺🇸 Ed and Gloria Shaughnessy 🇺🇸 Mr. Gary A. Skeen 🇺🇸 Mr. John D. Streder 🇺🇸Fred and Joy Thomas
🇺🇸 The Tampa Electric Company 🇺🇸 Tampa Bay Rays of Hope Foundation, Inc
🇺🇸 Mr. Ross VanLerberghe 🇺🇸 American Veterans Post #98 🇺🇸 The Bruce and Gail Wiesemann Family Trust
🇺🇸 James and Dorothy Villa 🇺🇸 The 6th Graders of ORONO Middle School in Orono , MN
🇺🇸 Wanda Elkins 🇺🇸 Sabrina and Jamie McFarland 🇺🇸 Thomas, Molly, Sarah, and Clare E. Devlin
🇺🇸 Bonnie Thomas, Walter and Brenda Viveiros 🇺🇸 Bonnie Scott 🇺🇸Candida Cotto
Email and we’ll contact you. Ask for Ellie or Alan