MacDill plays a role in U.S. airstrike in Syria

CENTCOM based at MacDill played a major role in Thursday night’s airstrike in syria

By now most people know that President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike on Al-Shayrat Air Base Syria today in retaliation for the regime of Bashar Assad, for using nerve agents to attack his own people. That attack was in part carried out by the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) whose headquarters is in Tampa at MacDill Air Force Base.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is a former head of CENTCOM at MacDill and he advised President Trump on his options in Syria.

Trump gave the order from the Southern White House, at Mar-a-Lago, his home in West Palm Beach. President Trump was in retaliation for the Syrian dictator for using banned chemical agents in the April 4 attack that killed over 100 of his own people.

The Pentagon issued a statement about the attack that provided details on what military personnel were used in the attack. According to Navy Capt. Jeff Davis here is how the attack played out from their point of view.

The strike was conducted using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, or TLAMs, launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Davis said in his statement. A total of 59 TLAMs targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars.

“As always,” Davis said, “the U.S. took extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict.  Every precaution was taken to execute this strike with minimal risk to personnel at the airfield.”

In this image provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) launches a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, April 7, 2017. The United States blasted a Syrian air base with a barrage of cruise missiles in fiery retaliation for this week’s gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/U.S. Navy via AP)

We are assessing the results of the strike,” Davis said. “Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian government’s ability to deliver chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons against innocent people will not be tolerated.”

Special thanks to Jim Garamone of DoD News and the United States Central Command for the quotes and some of the information used in this story. Pictures are from the Department of Defense and video from CBS.


Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.