About Stars and Stripes
Stars and Stripes exists to provide independent news and information to the U.S. military community, comprised of active-duty servicemembers, DoD civilians, contractors, and their families. Unique among the many Department of Defense authorized news outlets, only Stars and Stripes is guaranteed First Amendment privileges that are subject to Congressional oversight.*
Stars and Stripes has published a newspaper continuously since World War II. Our unique military coverage first became available online in 1999. Today, Stars and Stripes operates as a multimedia news organization. We publish the Stars and Stripes print newspaper edition Monday through Thursday, a special Weekend Edition on Friday for Europe and Pacific, and a separate Mideast edition Friday through Sunday. In addition, we publish several weekly and monthly publications and numerous special supplements. On any given day, readers and visitors number around 600,000; daily print readers average about 200,000.
Stars and Stripes maintains news bureaus in Europe, Pacific and the Middle East to provide first-hand reporting on events in those theaters. In addition to news and sports, Stars and Stripes newspapers contain all the elements of an American “hometown paper,” including comics and puzzles.
The newspapers for the Mideast are command-sponsored and distributed at no charge to forces stationed in war zones. In Europe and Pacific, the newspaper is for sale on base in coin boxes and at military exchanges. Home delivery to subscribers is available in Belgium, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, and South Korea.
Other Stars and Stripes publications include its annual Heroes and special supplements focused on such topics as education, insurance, retirement planning, and travel. Welcome to Europe Guide is published three times annually; the Annual Manual is published for the Pacific community once a year.
View our 2014 Supplement Calendar to see a list of special publications.
Stars and Stripes holds its staff to high quality standards for its journalism. As a result, staffers routinely garner recognition for excellence.
• 2014 VFW News Media Award
• Award for outstanding contributions to a better understanding of our
American way of life and its institutions and interests by honest
and forthright reporting.
• 2013 Military Reporters and Editors
• Award for Print - Overseas coverage, small circulation
• Recipient: Laura Rauch
• 2013 Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest
• Notable Narrative Winner
• Recipient: Martin Kuz: "Soldiers Recount Attack"
• 2013 National Headline Awards
• Second Place: News Series (Forever After: A Warrior Wounded; A Family Challenged)
• 2013 min Best of Web
• Honorable Mention: Stripes UK website
• 2011 Military Photographer of the Year: Honorable Mention
• Recipient: Joshua DeMotts
• 2011 Sigma Delta Chi Award
• Breaking News Photography (Newspaper Circulation 100,001+ or Affiliated
• Recipient: Laura Rauch: "For those I love I will sacrifice"
• 2011 Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation
• The John Reagan “Tex” McCrary Excellence in Journalism Award
• 2010 Military Reporters and Editors
• Award for Overseas coverage (<100,000 circulation)
• Recipient: Jon Rabiroff
• 2010 National Headliner Awards
• First Place: Public Service (Forcing Change)
• Third Place: News Series (Coming Home:
The Men of Triple Deuce)
• 2009 George Polk Awards in Journalism
• George Polk Award for Military Reporting
• Recipients: Charlie Reed, Leo Shane III and Kevin Baron
• 2009 min Editorial & Design Awards
• Editorial Print - Special Supplement: HEROES 2009
• Custom Publication Design: Stripes GAMER
• 2007 Military Reporters and Editors
• Award for Overseas coverage (<100,000 circulation)
• Recipient: Monte Morin
• 2006 Military Reporters and Editors
• Award for Overseas coverage (<100,000 circulation)
• Recipients: Monte Morin, Joe Giordono
• Honorable mention: Nancy Montgomery
• Photography (<100,000 circulation)
• Recipient: Fred Zimmerman
• 2006 NAA ACME Award of Excellence
• Youth Oriented Ad Series/Campaign: Stripes GAMER
• Entertainment Promotions: Tales from the Crib
• 2005 Military Reporters and Editors
• Award for Overseas print coverage (<100,000 circulation)
• Recipient: Steve Liewer
• Award for Photography (<100,000 circulation)
• Recipient: Terry Boyd
• Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award
• First Amendment, Finalist 2003
• 2004 Excellence in Journalism Award (American Legion):
Ground Truth Series
• Distinguished Reporting Citation from the Military
Reporters and Editors Association
• 2004 Editor and Publisher Photo of the Year: Honorable Mention
Stars and Stripes Facts & Figures for FY 2013:
• Deployed 12 reporters/photographers who spent 800 man-days in theater
• Sent 18 circulation, contracting, advertising and senior staffers downrange
for a total 1,090 man-days
• Printed and distributed over 5.0 million newspapers in Europe and Pacific
• Printed and distributed about 9.6 million newspapers in contingency areas
• Delivered 1.7 million Digital Editions, averaging about 4,800 per day
• Launched its first Tablet Edition app for iPad, now with 4,000 active users
• Delivered 28,000 downloads to date of our news apps for smartphones
• Produced and distributed 1.6 million copies of HEROES 2013
• Delivered 35.8 million page views on its premier stripes.com website
• Served 9.13 million unique visitors during FY 2013 on stripes.com
The first Stars and Stripes was published briefly by Union troops during the Civil War. The predecessor of today’s paper appeared during World War I, then again in World War II.
Since the last world war, Stars and Stripes newspaper has published continuously (1942 in Europe; 1945 in the Pacific). Stripes reporters have served right beside American soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen in Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo. Reporters have been on assignment in the Middle East since 2001 and covered the military’s humanitarian efforts in the aftermath of the 2005 tsunami, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.
Stars and Stripes newspapers are sold at military facilities in Europe and the Pacific. The Mideast edition is distributed seven days a week at no cost to our servicemembers in contingency areas. Published weekdays, the main edition contains stories specific to each theater of operations in order to better serve our global audience. We publish wherever our troops go, so where we set up operations always depends on the deployment plans of the military.
In May 2004 Stars and Stripes began offering its newspaper in a digital edition, available at stripes.com to anyone in the world with access to the Internet. Today all editions are available as PDF downloads.
Stripes.com also provides a broad range of local information to the overseas military community, including travel and entertainment listings, in addition to useful services such as free classified advertising.
In 2012 Stars and Stripes began offering smartphone apps and in early 2013 launched its Tablet Edition for iPad, now available with a free 7-day preview.
On any given day, the total average daily audience for Stars and Stripes news and information is around 600,000.
Stars and Stripes maintains three offices: one each in Europe and Pacific and one in Washington, D.C. Each office has its own reporters and editors, as well as business and support staff. Web operations and newspaper layout are handled at our Central office in the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. The newspaper's pages are transmitted to print sites in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the UK.
At the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Stars and Stripes began publishing a Mideast edition. Today about 25,000 copies per day are distributed in Afghanistan, Kuwait and other Gulf nations. In addition to American forces, the audience includes Department of Defense civilians, contractors and in some cases NATO troops. Research indicates that a copy of Stars and Stripes distributed downrange may be read by as many as seven different people.
A Uniquely American Newspaper
The first paper named Stars and Stripes was produced by Union soldiers during the Civil War, in 1861. Using the facilities of a captured newspaper plant in Bloomfield, Mo., they ran off a one-page paper. That paper appeared only four times.
Stars and Stripes was revived in World War I. The first edition appeared February 8, 1918, in Paris. The weekly was produced by an all-military staff to serve the doughboys of the American Expeditionary Force under General of the Armies John J. "Black Jack" Pershing.
Some of its staff later became famous journalists, including Pvt. Harold Ross, who founded The New Yorker magazine, and Lt. Grantland Rice, who became the nation's first celebrated sports writer.
The newspaper ceased printing after the war ended, when no one could imagine another conflict of that magnitude.
But barely two decades later Europe was embroiled in a second world war and on April 18, 1942, Stars and Stripes had its second renaissance. A small group of servicemen started up a four-page weekly paper in a London print shop. Working in very tight quarters, the enterprising group quickly established an audience.
Each copy sold for just tuppence (two English pence or about 5 cents), and in no time the paper was running eight pages and printing daily instead of weekly.
Operations rapidly expanded, following GIs to the battlefront to bring them the news. During World War II, Stars and Stripes published as many as 32 separate editions, with page counts running as high as 24 pages per issue. At one time, there were as many as 25 publishing locations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific.
The Pacific edition was launched a week after VE day (Victory in Europe, May 8, 1945) and became the forerunner of the Pacific Stars and Stripes.
Championed by the U.S. Military
The first edition of Stars and Stripes published during World War II featured an interview with Gen. George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff. Marshall quoted Gen. John J. Pershing, World War I American Expeditionary Force (AEF) commander, who believed that Stripes had been a major factor in sustaining AEF morale.
"We have his (Pershing's) authority for the statement that no official control was ever exercised over the matter which went into Stars and Stripes," Marshall said. "It always was entirely for and by the soldier. This policy is to govern the conduct of the new publication."
Putting out the newspaper in the midst of bombs and battles was no small feat and staffers were always on the move, setting up shop as close to the front as possible. The product of their efforts was in demand and circulation eventually reached over 1.2 million.
Stars and Stripes also found a special champion and protector in Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander. Eisenhower enforced a hands-off policy in regard to Stars and Stripes, routinely defending the paper against whatever complaints and protest ensued.
World War II ended, but the command wasn't ready to dismantle the newspaper.
In the end, Stars and Stripes was instructed to continue publishing as long as U.S. troops remained abroad.
Many changes have occurred since 1942—but the mission of providing independent news and information to the military community continues to be the primary purpose.
As wartime military staff began returning to the States, the newspaper began replacing them with a full-time civilian staff of professional journalists and newspaper business people, augmented by a small contingent of military journalists and managers.
Stripes reporters and photographers joined American troops in the field throughout the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. During the 1990s (Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Provide Comfort), Stripes’ dedicated staff of journalists and business specialists showed their camaraderie and support. The paper established a Middle East bureau for reporting on the war, and circulation of Stars and Stripes nearly doubled within weeks.
When American troops deployed to Bosnia in 1995, Stars and Stripes was there to greet them. While delivering 12,000 papers to Bosnia, Stars and Stripes covered the civilians, servicemembers, families, and communities supporting deployed personnel as well as actions in the Bosnian region.
From the very outset of the war in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom), Stripes reporters were there to report first-hand. Initially printed in Europe and shipped in, by November 2004 print operations were set up in Kabul so Stripes could assure that forces received their newspapers more quickly and reliably.
During the war in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom), Stripes reporters embedded with military units, as well as on Navy ships in the region. Staffers today report from Afghanistan and other Gulf nations. Today about 25,000 newspapers are delivered daily to forces deployed downrange, seven days a week.
Stars and Stripes Today
Considered to be the “hometown newspaper” for servicemembers, government civilians and their families stationed overseas, Stars and Stripes continues to produce a newspaper that offers the same type of national and international news, sports and opinion columns typically found in U.S. newspapers.
Stripes provides news and information of interest and value about issues in servicemembers’ host countries, local communities and commands. Content includes stories filed by Stripes reporters and other respected sources such as the Associated Press, McClatchy, Scripps Howard, and the Washington Post.
Stars and Stripes today has one of the widest distribution ranges of any newspaper in the world; it covers over 40 countries where there are U.S. bases, posts, servicemembers, ships, or embassies. In addition to its own print operation in Tokyo, newspaper pages are sent via satellite to 12 remote printing locations, including three in Europe (Germany, Italy and the UK). In Afghanistan, we print in Kabul and distribute newspapers daily to Kabul, Kandahar, Bagram, Camp Salerno and other bases. We also print in Bahrain, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and even SauSSQatDjibouti, in order to serve deployed forces. In the Pacific, Stars and Stripes is printed in Japan and South Korea.
Stories and photos by Stars and Stripes staffers are copyrighted, and may not be reprinted or used without permission. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know what you need.
We regret that we cannot grant reprint permission for wire service or other syndicated material, or provide copies of photos from those services. For Associated Press reprint information, visit the AP information page; to purchase copies of AP photos, visit the AP photo site.