This multi-media blog, Off the Base, was designed to build a bridge and give the civilian community a better understanding of military life for service members and their families. It includes radio reports, reaching most of central Florida, that aired on WUSF 89.7 News, Tampa, FL.

That was back in 2010 during the Afghanistan “surge”. The need for civilian understanding continues even as the dynamics around military life change.

This space also features contributions from various active duty, retired military and their family members. Researchers, advocates and other stakeholders will have a voice.

Of special interest are military families dealing with multiple deployments to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.Those deployments weigh equally heavy on the family at home as the service member in harms way. There are stories of success and stress that need to be told. We’ll hear from families preparing for deployment, currently living through a deployment and about the adjustments after a service member returns home.

Bobbie O’Brien, WUSF Reporter/Producer and 2010-11 Rosalynn Carter Fellow

Bobbie O’Brien is the main writer and moderator of this space. She created this forum as part of a special project through the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowships established by the former First Lady.

O’Brien won the prestigious fellowship in September 2010 after spending a year reporting a special weekly radio series,My Last Tour , based on a military blog Afghanistan – My Last Tour about the combat deployment of a local airman to Afghanistan.  O’Brien has covered military affairs for years and hopes this space will be helpful to active duty personnel and their families as well as veterans both before, during and after deployments.

O’Brien is an Ohio native who has lived in Florida since 1978. She attended Kent State University and graduated from the University of South Florida. She worked 28 years reporting for WUSF 89.7  – the Tampa Bay NPR affiliate – after more than a decade spent as a journalist in newspapers and television in the region. Now retired, Bobbie is a freelance journalist and can be can be reached at bobrienews@gmail.com .

12 Responses

  1. i love the articles i read about the citadel and her experience. I have a boyfriend there and i like to know as much as possible so i can understand what he is going through. thank you for sharing your stories:)

  2. Hi, my name is Greg Simony and I am located in Bradenton, FL. I am wondering if you come across any disabled Veterans, who may be interested in being a part of a triathlon. I work with individuals who are confined to wheelchairs and I pull them in adaptive equipment. I have worked with several organizations, but have set my sight on finding a veteran who had a goal of doing a triathlon, but is unable, due to their injuries suffered. I have reached out to Wounded Warriors and DAV, but have not been able to communicate with anyone. My website is care2tri.com if you have a chance to check it out. It will give you a better sense of who I am and what I do.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s great, and if you know of any disabled Veterans, or know who to speak with to find one, please let me know.

    Greg Simony

  3. […] it might be helpful to posts links to the posts I’ve written for Off the Base, a blog by Bobbie O’Brien of WUSF.  Most of my entries for Off the Base have to do with being the mom of a cadet at The Citadel. […]

  4. I’m currently working with http://www.militaryeducation.org. They specialize in educating others who are interested in Military Scholarships.They have created a new Military Infographic, which I thought might interest your readers.

    You can review the graphic at http://www.militaryeducation.org/military-equipment/. If you like the graphic, I’d appreciate if you could add it to your blog or share it through your social media accounts. Thank You!

  5. Thank you for this information – it is very important for American’s to understand and help our Military Personnel.
    Healing Heroes Network is a National 501(c) 3 non-profit charity with headquarters in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. HHN is committed to healing America’s heroes by providing financial assistance for quality medical care to the men and women of the armed forces injured in the line of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, on or after 9/11/2001. Our nationwide network of medical professionals willing to provide services, along with donations from our generous supporters, enables HHN to treat these brave wounded warriors all over the USA free of charge, for services delayed, not covered, or not approved under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefit systems. Healing Heroes Network is funded by the generosity of individuals, companies, and fundraising events; no government funds are distributed to our cause. HHN promotes mental and physical rehabilitation to wounded heroes who have sustained traumatic injuries in the line of duty, including both brain and bodily injuries. Such services include Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatment (HBOT), massage therapy, chiropractic therapy, and so much more. Studies have shown that HBOT assists with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) as well as physical ailments. By encompassing every aspect of their medical needs, HHN and donors like you are able to help these brave Military Personnel return to more productive, fulfilling lives — improving the quality of life for their families, communities, and our Country as a whole.
    If you know a Service Man or Woman in need of financial assistance for medical treatments, please contact Info@healingheroes.org and visit: http://www.healingheroes.org

  6. Hi,

    I wanted to shoot you an email about a writing contest I just
    initiated at my site MilitaryBases.com, but I couldn’t find your contact page or email. Because you’re a blogger, I
    thought you or your readers might be interested. I’m awarding about
    $400 worth of prizes. You can even win just for tweeting about it!

    The only requirements are:
    – Minimum 750 words
    – Military related

    You can find out all about it here:


    Dan Anderson

  7. What a wonderful site Bobbie! I too started my blog to try and bridge the gap between civilians and military. Though my blog has it’s own niche with the zero waste aspect, I’ve found most of my posts are about our lifestyle, and eco-events around town. I feel very detached to the military in which we serve, mainly because our lifestyle is so, so “different.” So different in fact from most Americans, that the only followers I have are other like-minded thinkers, and that’s not why I started this. I don’t know that I have any military followers except for friends from my prior enlistment.
    I’d like to get more involved with the military communtiy. I’m headed over to Fleet and Family this week to ask about offering free seminars from how to start a backyard compost pile to saving money by living frugally–for ex. the crock pot blog.
    I have so much to give and so much information but feel a bit overwhelmed with how to filter it out.
    I’m at a loss!
    Help? 🙂

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Working together, I think we can both grow. I am still on a huge learning curve but may have a few suggestions and will certainly share tips as well as resources. In the next few days, I’ll send you a direct email with some links and ideas.

      The feeling of being “overwhelmed” may never go away – it hasn’t for me because as soon as you learn a strategy something new comes arrives. So it’s a constant world of change – probably not unlike your experience as a military spouse. I applaud your “no waste” efforts. You are actually right in line with the Dept. of Defense which is stressing bio-fuels and energy independence.It’s sometimes difficult to be on the leading edge, but you’re doing good work.

      I’ll be in touch.

  8. I would like to link your blog on mine with your permission.

  9. Check out our site.. http://www.johnnysnewhope.org to see what we are trying to build for our Vets coming back with PTSD.. We also just published a magazine to raise awareness..

  10. […] 2011 I was asked to contribute to a blog called Off the Base , my sons senior year. The blog is the project of Bobbie O’Brien of WUSF in Tampa, Florida. […]

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