Stripes Central’s top 10 posts for 2012

WASHINGTON – This year’s top news stories included the presidential election, the ongoing fiscal cliff crisis, enlisted troops and officers behaving badly, and panic surrounding federal paychecks. So, naturally, this year’s most read news blogs centered on those topics too.

Here’s a list of the 10 most popular posts on Stripes Central for 2012:

Tributes to a military hero turned Senate icon

WASHINGTON -- Condolences and tributes have been pouring in from Capitol Hill since Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away a few hours ago. Here is some of the reaction:

President Barack Obama: "Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero. The second-longest serving Senator in the history of the chamber, Danny represented the people of Hawaii in Congress from the moment they joined the Union. In Washington, he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus, and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve. But it was his incredible bravery during World War II – including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor – that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Inouye family."

Random breathalyzer program set for Marines

WASHINGTON – The Marine Corps is launching a random breathalyzer program in an effort to curb underage drinking and Marines reporting to work drunk.

Starting in January, all Marines will be tested for alcohol at least twice a year, according to Col. Tim Foster, chief of staff for Marine and Family programs. Marines with blood alcohol levels of 0.01 percent or higher will be referred to training and further screening at a substance abuse counseling center. Marines with a result of 0.04 percent or higher will be referred to a doctor to determine whether he or she is fit for duty.

Study to focus on how deployments affect children

WASHINGTON -- Although much attention has been paid to the physical and mental toll that military deployments place on servicemembers, a new pilot study conducted by the University of Houston will probe into how their families are also negatively impacted by lengthy separations from a parent deployed overseas.

Over the past decade, more than 2 million U.S. military servicemembers have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Nearly an equal number of children have had to cope with the resulting disruptions to family life, said Candice Alfano, an associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Houston, who is leading the study.

113th Army-Navy Game

6:24 p.m. -Final - Navy 17, Army 13.

Army got close, but not close enough. Navy, which trailed midway through the fourth quarter, rallied to a 17-13 victory over the Black Knights (2-10) on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Navy (8-4) beat its biggest rival for the 11th consecutive time in this historic series.

Who's got spirit?

After a decisive victory in the “Gangnam Style” video battle earlier this year, the cadets at West Point seem to be resting on their laurels and keeping their hopes of a victory over Navy to themselves.

Unlike past years, when a quick YouTube search could net dozens of cadet- and midshipman-made videos proclaiming service academy superiority, this year’s videos tend toward the Navy side. One of the flashiest is “Game for the Real Players,” while “Sink the Army in One More Fight," based on Maroon 5’s “One More Night,” also features Navy-inspired lyrics but off-key vocals. The commandant and sergeant major of the Marine Corps even contributed a video and a knife hand to the Navy effort. Many of the Naval Academy’s football players become Marine officers.

Pentagon general counsel resigns

Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson has resigned, effective Dec. 31, to return to private practice.

Johnson was a member of President Obama’s transition team following the 2008 election and was appointed to be the Defense Department’s top lawyer in 2009.

New lawsuit filed in ongoing religion dispute

WASHINGTON – A legal feud between former servicemembers on the issue of public expression of religion in the military is entering round two.

Gordon Klingenschmitt, a Navy chaplain who fought for the right to address public prayers to Jesus before being pushed out of the service in 2007, has filed a defamation lawsuit in New Mexico’s Albuquerque District Court against Mikey Weinstein, a prominent advocate of church-state separation in the military and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

AFRICOM chief: Terror groups digging in, cooperating in Africa

WASHINGTON – Al-Qaida is strengthening its position daily in Africa as regional terrorist groups increasingly work together, the top U.S. commander for the region said Monday.

But Gen. Carter Ham, speaking at George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute, cautioned against a hasty military intervention to dislodge terrorists from a growing safe haven in northern Mali.

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