COVER STORYMarines endure fleas, flies, filth in MarjahBy any estimate, the living conditions at Combat Outpost Coutu can only be described as grim. Named after Pfc. Kyle J. Coutu, a 20-year-old from Providence, R.I., who was killed Feb. 18 during the initial push into the Taliban stronghold of Marjah, the small camp sits in a sun-baked mud-brick compound that belongs to a local honcho who the Marines suspect is an opium dealer. • StoryData: Only 19 percent of medical evacuations in Mideast battle-relatedOnly one out of five medical evacuations of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan in the past eight years were diagnosed as battle-related injuries, according to a new analysis by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. • Story

Uphill battle to win over villagers in Tangi ValleySince arriving in December, soldiers in this district’s rugged, deadly Tangi Valley haven’t fired a shot. They haven’t kicked in a door, haven’t searched a house. The two Afghans they detained were released two days later. •Story

Keen: If you’ve left Port-au-Prince, don’t come backThe U.S. will keep troops in Haiti through September to work alongside Argentine peacekeepers in a volatile part of the country where tens of thousands fled to after January’s earthquake. • Story

Airborne bears to catch bin Laden, and other letters to the PentagonCould parachute-wearing bears sniff out Osama bin Laden? That’s one suggestion the Pentagon has received from someone who noted, quite correctly, that a bear’s sense of smell is much more powerful than a bloodhound’s. • 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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