David Jolly, Rick Scott, and Charlotte's Web are in the headlines today.

Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Megan N. Anuci / U.S. Navy

Florida’s version of the GI Bill was approved by the Florida Senate today and is now headed to the governor for his signature.

It’s not your granddad’s classroom. And it probably isn’t the kind of classroom you grew up in either.

Warren Miller

Winfield Strock spent 23 years aboard submarines.

Sports Technologies LLC

The NFL season is over, but the concern over sports concussions is as alive as ever.

Sebastian Stabinger / Wikimedia Commons

A virtual reality headset that had people talking at the recent International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas could be coming to your living room next year.

U.S. Air Force

Despite public support, the latest and greatest fighter jets in the nation's air arsenal will not be stationed in Jacksonville.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

The USS New York arrived at its new home at Mayport Naval Station Friday afternoon. About a thousand military personnel and their families will now call Jacksonville home.

Warren Miller

David Steinmeyer enlisted in the National Guard after high school.

He got married, became an electrician, a father, and a grandfather, and then he re-enlisted in the National Guard.

The following year his unit was told it would be deployed to Iraq. 

You can follow WJCT on Twitter @WJCTJax.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

A military history museum has been cleared to move into the National Guard Armory downtown after a dispute about the building’s future, but there is still a chance for an arts center to also be part of the redevelopment.

The Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee on Tuesday approved an agreement with the Sons of Confederate Veterans Kirby-Smith Camp to renovate the armory for the museum.

They would pay for all renovations and lease the building for $1 per year. A coalition of arts nonprofits are also vying to turn the space into an arts center.

Openly gay U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and New Jersey waitress Dayna Morales will donate some of the tips she has been receiving from across the country to the Jacksonville-based Wounded Warriors Project. A photo of a nearly $100 check with an anti-gay message left in place of a tip she received went viral online last week.

Florida officials inducted six citizens into the state’s Veterans Hall of fame Tuesday. Lawmakers created the honor in 2011, but concerns about diversity slowed down the process, making this year’s group the inaugural set.

Florida Governor Rick Scott inducted five men and one woman during Tuesday’s early morning ceremony. 

Two of the nation's top naval intelligence officers, Vice Adm. Ted Branch and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, have had their access to classified material suspended in connection with a bribery scandal involving a Singapore-based contractor.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

Today is Veterans Day, the day Americans have set aside to honor the men and women of the military who in ways large and small have helped shape history.

U.S. Air Force

Jacksonville is a military-friendly town with three Navy bases a Coast Guard station and numerous National Guard centers.

It was only four years ago that the military began working with the Duval County public schools through its School Liaison Officer Initiative to address the needs and concerns of military kids.

Dawn Kaunike set up the program at 14 of the Navy’s 17 bases in the Southeast.

Kaunike was a military brat and later a military spouse, so when she says military kids have a lot to deal with, she’s speaking from experience.

Saying "America is grateful for you," President Obama awarded the nation's highest military honor on Tuesday to former Army Capt. William Swenson.

The Medal of Honor is the first given to an Army officer since the Vietnam War. President Obama said Swenson braved seven hours of continuous fighting, putting his life in danger multiple times to help fallen and wounded service members, as well as his Afghan partners.

NPR's Scott Horsley filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Obama called Swenson 'a remarkable role model for all of us.'

Two days of talks between U.S. and Afghan officials have yielded a partial security agreement between the two countries. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Hamid Karzai held discussions Friday and Saturday on a deal to keep the U.S. military in the country beyond the 2014 pullout date for most U.S. and NATO troops.

The next step for the tentative bilateral security agreement is for it to be reviewed by Afghanistan's parliament and the Loya Jirga, an assembly of public and tribal leaders.


The government shutdown is a week and a half away from seriously affecting the number of burials at national cemeteries around the country.

Cliff Shields, director of the Jacksonville National Cemetery, says the money that’s already been allocated to operate the cemeteries will run out October 22.  But that doesn’t mean they’ll close up shop, he says.

“We’ll continue to conduct burials but on a very reduced schedule," he said. "So, to say that the doors are going to close, I would say that’s not going to happen."

As Tropical Storm Karen strengthens on it's way towards the U.S. Gulf Coast, where it's expected to make landfall sometime this weekend, the Florida National Guard is recalling some personnel who were furloughed due to the federal government shutdown to plan for potential storm impacts.

Lt. Col. James Evans, director of public affairs for the Florida National Guard, said that of the state's approximately 2,000 full-time guardsmen about half are furloughed due to the shutdown.

Courtesy of Greg Waggoner

Before dawn, a government van picked up paratrooper Jeffrey Waggoner for the five-hour drive to a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in southern Oregon. His orders: detox from a brutal addiction to painkillers.

He had only the clothes on his back, his watch, an MP3 player and a two-page pain contract the Army made him sign, a promise to get clean.

The FBI on Wednesday released some preliminary findings in its investigation of the Washington Navy Yard shootings that left 13 people dead including the shooter.

Army Capt. Matt Zeller had been told that his Afghan comrades would make a big show of hospitality. He'd read that the Afghan code of honor would mean protecting his life with their own. Sure enough, that's what his interpreter, Janis Shinwari, pledged to him when they met in April of 2008.

"I expected him to say it. I didn't think he'd make good on his promise within two weeks of my arrival," Zeller says. "Literally pick up a weapon and ... save my life," says Zeller.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Allied Veterans lawyer trial begins: Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis, charged as the "mastermind" in the Allied Veterans of the World gambling ring case, goes on trial today.

Update at 3:14 p.m. ET. Carter Receives Medal Of Honor:

Saying he represented "the essence of true heroism," President Obama presented Army Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter with the nation's highest military honors, this afternoon.

"As these soldiers and families will tell you, they're a family forged in battle, and loss, and love," Obama said, according to the AP.

Our Original Post Continues:

The Army staff sergeant who Monday afternoon will receive the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony has mixed emotions.

Update at 10:18 a.m. ET. 35 Years:

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was responsible for the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history, was sentenced by a military judge to 35 years in prison Wednesday, according to reporters covering the trial at Fort Meade, Md. He'll get about 3 1/2 years' credit for time he's already spent behind bars.

More details (added at 10:30 a.m. ET):

-- Manning is also to be dishonorably discharged.

Cyd Hoskinson

Florida Congressman Ander Crenshaw, R-Jacksonville,  along with the chairman of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, will meet with leaders of Jacksonville’s veteran’s community this afternoon to discuss their concerns.

STD’s are not new, in fact US Army medical records dating back to the Revolutionary War show just how significant soldier losses were due to venereal diseases. The incidents of VD during the Civil War over a two-year period show just how prevalent the problem was. The Union Army documented 100,000 cases of gonorrhea. During World War I, the Army lost 7 million person-days and discharged more than 10,000 men because they were sick from STDs. Once Penicillin was available in the mid-1940s, such infections were treatable.

Military flyovers, a favorite moment during Jaguars games, could be a victim of the sequester. USA Today reports that if the budget cuts go into effect, it's possible that the flyovers will end, at least for this fiscal year and possibly beyond.