COVER STORYTop military stories of 2009Afghanistan, Iraq, mental health and the Fort Hood shootings, here's a look at the top stories of 2009. • Story

Looming U.S. exit to complicate Iraqi trainingAs the U.S. military contemplates its exit from Iraq, Baghdad-based officers involved in the training effort say the Iraqis are nearly ready to take over the $24 million a year program in Besmaya and others like it. • Story

Army trains soldiers on how to be mentally, emotionally toughThe Army’s not in the marriage-counseling business, but it does try to keep soldiers alive — and failed relationships are a significant factor in the record suicide rates in the past several years. Additionally, up to 30 percent of troops are beset with PTSD and depression as soldiers have made repeated trips to war zones. • Story

Tiny Estonia keen to make large contribution in Afghanistan fightWhile other larger European countries have limited how and where their soldiers can operate, Estonia has been keen to prove itself to its NATO allies, maintaining a combat force of about 150 soldiers in some of Afghanistan’s most dangerous areas and doubling that briefly during the country’s elections in August. • Story

Marine awarded Navy Cross for Afghan heroicsA 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion Marine here received his nation’s second highest award for valor Friday. In a ceremony at Recon Point, Gunnery Sgt. John Mosser was awarded the Navy Cross medal for his actions during a deadly battle in Afghanistan in June. • Story

American children in South Korea get new protective masksDiapers? Check. Sippy cup? Check. Infant-child Chemical Agent Protection System? Check. Yes, the continuing threat of attack from North Korea makes for some unique provisions U.S. servicemembers and their families must keep on hand when living in South Korea. • Story

2009 as seen by Stripes photographersA look back at some of the year's top images from Europe, the Mideast, the Pacific and stateside. • Story

More stories:• Report: Sailor’s overboard death was preventable • DOD considers expanding sexual assault tracking • Okinawa police call for charge against sergeant • Mixed bag for AAFES: Holiday sales soar in Pacific but slump in Europe • Airman’s death ruled an accident

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.

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