Spouse CallsA weekly column in Stripes' Scene magazine by Terri Barnes, a military wife and mother of three who lives and writes in Germany. • This week's column • Terri' Barnes blog

A general battles post-combat stressJust back from a year in Iraq, Gen. Carter Ham got into the car with his wife, Christi, and began a strangely silent, cross-country drive. “I probably said three words,” Ham recently recalled of the trip four years ago from Washington state to Washington, D.C. His time in Iraq, what the future held for them, the sites along the way — that was a lot not to talk about, Christi thought, for her usually communicative husband. • Story• Related story:‘Reaching out and connecting’

Afghan villages: Portals to the TalibanThe old man greets the soldiers cordially, inviting two of them and an interpreter to sit and talk with him on the cold ground, packed hard by the sporadic winter rains. The soldiers of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment call the elder "the Godfather." • Story• More recent Stripes stories from Afghanistan:Jan. 14:Afghanistan’s kinetic actionJan. 14:Weapons cache seizure big blow to militantsJan. 12:New units face evolving fight in AfghanistanJan. 8:Securing Maiwand (photo gallery)Jan. 6:Behind Afghan WallsJan. 5:Afghans showing up to get voter cards

An inaugural dress rehearsalArmy Staff Sgt. Derrick Brooks was sworn in Sunday as the 44th president of the United States. OK, maybe he was only a stand-in for President-elect Barack Obama. But for Brooks, it was a chance to be a small part of history. • Story • Photo gallery •Video

Study finds flaws in some states' overseas voting systemsResearchers from The Pew Center on the States found that the slow pace of the postal services and the late mailing deadlines for absentee ballots made it nearly impossible for military voters in 16 states and the District of Columbia to have their ballot verified and counted. • Story•Read the report

Koreans reclaim ItaewonKuk Moon-kyun chose an unlikely home for her boutique flower shop — a central Seoul neighborhood famed as a hangout for American soldiers who were more likely to spend their money on beer and prostitutes than expensive flower arrangements. • Story • Related stories:What's in a name?Land values to shoot up as Yongsan Garrison vacatesTroops remember a place known for its vices

Relaxing in the Eagle's NestDuring World War II Adolf Hitler and his Nazi cronies walked the mountain paths around the Hinterbrand Lodge plotting world domination. Sixty-three years later U.S. servicemembers and their families come there to relax, climb up to Hitler’s famous Eagle’s Nest retreat or ski at the nearby Jenner ski area. • Story

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