COVER STORYUnique camaraderie forged by troops downrange lasts far beyond deploymentIt’s an unbreakable trust and kinship forged as men push their brains and bodies to the limits each day, together, in an environment that won’t forgive them should one man mess up. One guy keeps the next guy going, to keep all the brothers from falling. That bond is found in shared sweat, blood and Gatorade, and in a can of chew passed around before a patrol, be it on an unfathomably smelly Baghdad street or high in the Afghan mountains. It has been marketed and sold to the American public in films and video games. It’s widely known, but few actually know it. • Story

Greg Ruske: ‘They actually managed to hit me’Whether a bullet makes a "crack" or a "zip" depends on how close it is to your head. Maybe Army Reserve Sgt. Greg Ruske knew that before April 21, 2008, when he found himself in the middle of an ambush in Afghanya Valley, some 15 bumpy minutes’ drive east of Bagram. But he says it with such shocking casualness that you have to wonder where they grow guys like this. • Story

Nicholas Eslinger: ‘It was complete adrenaline and focus’It wasn’t until he got back from patrol that 2nd Lt. Nicholas Eslinger realized how close he came to death. On Oct. 1, Eslinger, 25, was leading a dismounted patrol through Samarra to gather intelligence on recent attacks. When an insurgent tossed a grenade at them, Eslinger dove on it to protect his troops. • Story

Mark Quigley ‘I originally thought, you know, this was it’Hart was hit in the head when the shooting started. Staff Sgt. Mark Quigley and his friend Sgt. David Hart had walked into an ambush. He wasn’t moving, but Quigley knew he had to get to him. His wound was likely fatal, but Quigley and his fellow soldiers fought their way through insurgents to try to save him. • Story

Battalion’s leaders look for stress reliefLast month’s deadly shooting at a stress clinic on the biggest U.S. military base in Baghdad prompted a meeting between Lt. Col. Dave Bair and his battalion’s chaplain, Capt. Mike Smith. The two men sat down and asked aloud: Should they be doing anything different to watch for danger signs among their nearly 800 soldiers? • Story

Military sees rise in eye injuries from lasersA tool that the U.S. military says is saving civilian lives in Iraq and Afghanistan has backfired in the hands of some soldiers, causing temporary — and in at least two cases, permanent — eye damage to fellow troops. Laser-related eye injuries among U.S. soldiers in Iraq have risen significantly in the last six months, prompting the military to review its use of green lasers. • 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

About the U.S. editionFor the first time since the Civil War, Stars and Stripes is returning stateside. The U.S. edition, available to local newspapers as a supplement, features some of the best content from the week’s daily overseas editions ... the top military stories from several news bureaus within Stars and Stripes’ three theaters — Europe, Pacific and Middle East — as well as coverage of military issues from the Pentagon and Capitol Hill.

Are you interested in advertising in the U.S. edition of Stars and Stripes, or seeing it your local newspaper? Contact Dan Krause at, or call him at 202-761-0910.


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now