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U.S. Rep. Castor Honors Fallen Tampa Hero USAF Major O'Keeffe Ahead of Gold Star Mother's Day

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Washington, September 28, 2018 | comments

As Gold Star Mother's Day approaches this weekend, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) announced today passage of legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives to honor Air Force Major Andreas “Andy” O’Keeffe.

U.S. Rep. Castor’s bill will rename the Town n’ Country post office in honor of Major O’Keefe.  “Major O’Keeffe represented the best that our Tampa community and America has to offer.  On behalf of a grateful community and country, we honor his memory and service by naming the thriving U.S. Post Office in Town ‘n Country for him,” U.S. Rep. Castor said.  U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) will sponsor the bill in the U.S. Senate.

Members of Congress have the ability to pass legislation to rename certain federal buildings to commemorate and express public gratitude for distinguished individuals.

Major O’Keeffe grew up in the Town ‘n Country area, attended Incarnation Catholic School, Tampa Bay Tech High School and the University of South Florida.  As a student, he served as an intern for U.S. Sen. Nelson.  Major O’Keeffe answered the call to serve, joining the Air National Guard in 2003 where he served as an aircraft armament specialist before being commissioned as an officer and receiving his flight wings.  During the same time, he received his law degree from Georgetown University, but chose to continue his military service – flying dangerous helicopter reconnaissance and rescue missions.  He deployed to Iraq three times, and to Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and Texas during Hurricane Harvey.  Following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, his unit rescued 2,000 victims of the storms.  Major O’Keeffe gave his life serving our country and rescuing people all over the world.  He died at age 37 on March 15, 2018, while serving during Operation Inherent Resolve, when his helicopter crashed in western Iraq.

“Major O’Keeffe’s family are longtime Hillsborough County residents and I have visited with Mary Ann, his mother, on a number of occasions to learn more about Major O’Keeffe’s life of service.  It is vital to honor our local fallen community heroes in memorable ways.  In dedicating a cornerstone of the Town ‘n Country community, we are honoring Major O’Keeffe and his role as a cornerstone in the love and service of our nation.”

Tampa is a patriotic community and home to MacDill Air Force Base, the 6th Air Mobility Wing, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) – two of the Armed Forces’ most important military command outposts – and the busiest VA Hospital in America, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.  U.S. Rep. Castor serves as Vice Ranking member of the powerful U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee and earlier in her tenure served on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.

The bill to honor the service and sacrifice of Major O’Keeffe has passed the U.S. House by unanimous consent.

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Tags: Military