COVER STORY Kids go through the paces to find out what deployment is like for Mom and DadIt’s not always easy, but don’t feel sorry for these kids. They may have a parent deployed to a war zone, but such status earns them membership in Kids4Kids, a special school club that most students are sad to leave when their mom or dad comes home. • Story

Without a pump or chemicals, soldiers at Iraq outpost can’t restore aquatic oasisThere’s no water in the pool; no working pump; no chlorine to treat the water. Right now, it’s just a vacant concrete hole that some time long ago was a refuge from the blazing heat of Iraq. Soldiers with Baumholder, Germany’s Company B, 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment hope to make this pool their oasis. But they find themselves at an impasse. • Story

Gift-card firm defaults on $713,000 in certificates to military retailersConsumers might recoup only "pennies on the dollar" for gift certificates sold by a defunct Ohio company, the state’s attorney general said this week. That could mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars for military retailers who are still redeeming the certificates. • Story

Many Marines would rather ship than lug their belongings back homeMarines at Camp Eagle, Iraq, line up at a makeshift post office (a table set up between a plywood hut and a Humvee) to mail home their extra gear, stuffed into green duffel bags and sturdy black boxes. • Story

Troops see real growth in Iraq — on their upper lipsThe moustache has become a fashion sensation among soldiers at Forward Operating Base Hammer and Patrol Base Tahweela. Enlisted soldiers and officers with the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor, and Company A, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment sport moustaches — or as they’re better known here, the “combat ’stache” or the “Iraq ’stache.” • Story

Flu outbreak during '08 exercise has medical personnel taking precautionsThe Nagano episode was a wake-up call for U.S. Army Japan medical leaders. “Last year got our attention,” said Col. Marilyn Brew, the U.S. Army Medical Ac-tivity-Japan commander. “Nobody wants another Orient Shield.” • Story• Related story: On guard against a new pandemic

Soldiers find satisfaction contributing to language program for Japanese forcesU.S. soldiers from Camp Zama, Japan, volunteer to participate in the Cultural Language Exchange Program, spending a week at Camp Kodaira, home to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s only foreign language school, helping Japa-nese soldiers with their English conver-sational skills and military terminology. • Story

Army aiming to improve medical accessAccess to care, specifically difficulties getting that access, is on the minds of Army medical officials throughout the Europe Regional Medical Command (ERMC) — and in the United States. • Story

Stuttgart soldier wins new carThe party was just a ruse ... the target for the schemers from Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Pizza Hut was an unsuspecting noncommissioned officer from the MP outfit. • Story

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

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