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Tech. Sgt. Craig Bowman of the USAFE-AFAFRICA Band sings at a ceremony honoring former Rhineland-Pfalz Minister-President Kurt Beck at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 8, 2013. Bowman sang the German and American national anthems at the ceremony.
Tech. Sgt. Craig Bowman of the USAFE-AFAFRICA Band sings at a ceremony honoring former Rhineland-Pfalz Minister-President Kurt Beck at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 8, 2013. Bowman sang the German and American national anthems at the ceremony. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Tech. Sgt. Craig Bowman of the USAFE-AFAFRICA Band sings at a ceremony honoring former Rhineland-Pfalz Minister-President Kurt Beck at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 8, 2013. Bowman sang the German and American national anthems at the ceremony.
Tech. Sgt. Craig Bowman of the USAFE-AFAFRICA Band sings at a ceremony honoring former Rhineland-Pfalz Minister-President Kurt Beck at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 8, 2013. Bowman sang the German and American national anthems at the ceremony. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Makula is the dominant male gorilla at the Gaia Zoo in Kerkrade, and the father of the baby gorilla born Dec. 31, 2012, at the zoo.
Makula is the dominant male gorilla at the Gaia Zoo in Kerkrade, and the father of the baby gorilla born Dec. 31, 2012, at the zoo. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Jonathan French, 5, and his father, Capt. Jonathan French, 32, lift their cups as part of a Passover Seder at the chapel in Grafenwöhr, Germany, March 25, 2013. Some 50 people attended the first of four Seders held by U.S. Army Europe's only Jewish chaplain, Capt. Andrew Shulman.
Jonathan French, 5, and his father, Capt. Jonathan French, 32, lift their cups as part of a Passover Seder at the chapel in Grafenwöhr, Germany, March 25, 2013. Some 50 people attended the first of four Seders held by U.S. Army Europe's only Jewish chaplain, Capt. Andrew Shulman. (Steven Beardsley/Stars and Stripes)
An MV-22B Osprey, assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., kicks up snow as it lands in a field on U.S. Africa Command's Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. The aircraft was in Stuttgart in March for a four-day visit focused on showcasing the Ospreys' capabilities to senior leaders at U.S. European and Africa Commands.
An MV-22B Osprey, assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., kicks up snow as it lands in a field on U.S. Africa Command's Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. The aircraft was in Stuttgart in March for a four-day visit focused on showcasing the Ospreys' capabilities to senior leaders at U.S. European and Africa Commands. (David Rogers/Stars and Stripes)
Children of American servicemembers line up for autographs and photos with members of the U.S. women's national soccer team, April 2, 2013. The team was in Europe for a pair of friendly matches.
Children of American servicemembers line up for autographs and photos with members of the U.S. women's national soccer team, April 2, 2013. The team was in Europe for a pair of friendly matches. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
Senior Airman Alia Caudill and Master Sgt. Raymond Marsh, members of the 569th Security Forces Squadron, head toward the finish during an 87-mile relay, April 11, 2013, in remembrance of Army Capt., Emil Kapaun. Kapaun was a chaplain whose unit was forced to march 87 miles after its capture in the Korean War. His actions earned him the Medal of Honor, which President Barack Obama presented to his surviving family.
Senior Airman Alia Caudill and Master Sgt. Raymond Marsh, members of the 569th Security Forces Squadron, head toward the finish during an 87-mile relay, April 11, 2013, in remembrance of Army Capt., Emil Kapaun. Kapaun was a chaplain whose unit was forced to march 87 miles after its capture in the Korean War. His actions earned him the Medal of Honor, which President Barack Obama presented to his surviving family. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
Mason Nielsen welcomes his dad, Sgt. Brent Nielsen, back from Afghanistan, after he and almost 150 other V Corps soldiers returned to Wiesbaden, Germany, April 23, 2013.
Mason Nielsen welcomes his dad, Sgt. Brent Nielsen, back from Afghanistan, after he and almost 150 other V Corps soldiers returned to Wiesbaden, Germany, April 23, 2013. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Col. Mark "Max" Maxwell gets big hugs from son David, 11, and wife Mary following his May 2, 2013, return with V Corps troops to Wiesbaden, Germany, from Afghanistan.
Col. Mark "Max" Maxwell gets big hugs from son David, 11, and wife Mary following his May 2, 2013, return with V Corps troops to Wiesbaden, Germany, from Afghanistan. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Yannick Gibbs smiles to someone in the crowd at the last University of Maryland University College commencement to take place in Heidelberg, Germany, May 4, 2013.
Yannick Gibbs smiles to someone in the crowd at the last University of Maryland University College commencement to take place in Heidelberg, Germany, May 4, 2013. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
First Lt. Matt Kading, left, tries to hose down Capt. Josh Geidel after Geidel piloted a Spangdahlem, Germany-based A-10 on its final tactical training mission in Europe, May 14, 2013. The A-10s left Spangdahlem in May and the 81st Fighter Squadron inactivated in June.
First Lt. Matt Kading, left, tries to hose down Capt. Josh Geidel after Geidel piloted a Spangdahlem, Germany-based A-10 on its final tactical training mission in Europe, May 14, 2013. The A-10s left Spangdahlem in May and the 81st Fighter Squadron inactivated in June. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Maximilian K. Pfauntsch stands among the graves of American children in Kaiserslautern, Germany's main cemetery following a ceremony for the children, May 18, 2013. Pfauntsch, a retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant, was a key player in preserving the American children's graves. The ceremony is held annually.
Maximilian K. Pfauntsch stands among the graves of American children in Kaiserslautern, Germany's main cemetery following a ceremony for the children, May 18, 2013. Pfauntsch, a retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant, was a key player in preserving the American children's graves. The ceremony is held annually. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
Ships from various countries participate in the international mine countermeasures exercise in the Persian Gulf, May 21, 2013.
Ships from various countries participate in the international mine countermeasures exercise in the Persian Gulf, May 21, 2013. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)
From left, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aaron Dickerson, Airman 1st Class Bonnie Burks, Airman 1st Class Josiah Austin, all from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, head to their bus after attending a reception in conjunction with a Memorial Day ceremony at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France, May 26, 2013. Airmen from Ramstein volunteered to participate in the ceremony.
From left, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aaron Dickerson, Airman 1st Class Bonnie Burks, Airman 1st Class Josiah Austin, all from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, head to their bus after attending a reception in conjunction with a Memorial Day ceremony at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France, May 26, 2013. Airmen from Ramstein volunteered to participate in the ceremony. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
Heidelberg High School's mascot, the lion, reads "The Real HHS Story Begins" to lion cubs at the school's closing ceremony  in Heidelberg, Germany, May 31, 2013.
Heidelberg High School's mascot, the lion, reads "The Real HHS Story Begins" to lion cubs at the school's closing ceremony in Heidelberg, Germany, May 31, 2013. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
Sgt. 1st Class Frank McCaskill and the USAREUR Band and Chorus' brass quintet provide music for the 5th Signal Command change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Sgt. 1st Class Frank McCaskill and the USAREUR Band and Chorus' brass quintet provide music for the 5th Signal Command change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
Fireworks decorate the night sky at the 2013 Independence Day celebration at Wiesbaden, Germany, July 3, 2013.
Fireworks decorate the night sky at the 2013 Independence Day celebration at Wiesbaden, Germany, July 3, 2013. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
Tyler Warren, 5, smiles at his parents while a volunteer paints his face to look like Spiderman during an Independence Day event at the U.S. Army's Smith Barracks in Baumholder, Germany.
Tyler Warren, 5, smiles at his parents while a volunteer paints his face to look like Spiderman during an Independence Day event at the U.S. Army's Smith Barracks in Baumholder, Germany. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
F-15Es stand on the tarmac at RAF Lakenheath, England, July 16, 2013.
F-15Es stand on the tarmac at RAF Lakenheath, England, July 16, 2013. (Adam L. Mathis/Stars and Stripes)
Staff Sgt. Herman Haynie, wife Rita and daughter Ila embrace during a redeployment ceremony in Bamberg, Germany, on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Members of the 16th Sustainment Brigade spent nine months in Afghanistan, training Afghan forces.
Staff Sgt. Herman Haynie, wife Rita and daughter Ila embrace during a redeployment ceremony in Bamberg, Germany, on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Members of the 16th Sustainment Brigade spent nine months in Afghanistan, training Afghan forces. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)
A bicycle rider pedals past U.S. soldiers with 2nd Platoon,  3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment in a Bavarian village on Aug. 2, 2013. The soldiers were taking a break in  their 18.36-mile ruck march from Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Germany, back to Rose Barracks in Vilseck.
A bicycle rider pedals past U.S. soldiers with 2nd Platoon, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment in a Bavarian village on Aug. 2, 2013. The soldiers were taking a break in their 18.36-mile ruck march from Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Germany, back to Rose Barracks in Vilseck. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
Senior Airman Edwin Nieves, Airman 1st Class Jeremy Manning, Airman 1st Class Jordan Jenkins and Staff Sgt. Jaron Jensen search for an "active shooter" in the Kaiserslautern High School library during a 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron active shooter training exercise Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013.
Senior Airman Edwin Nieves, Airman 1st Class Jeremy Manning, Airman 1st Class Jordan Jenkins and Staff Sgt. Jaron Jensen search for an "active shooter" in the Kaiserslautern High School library during a 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron active shooter training exercise Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Paratroopers from the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) dot the sky Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, near Aviano Air Base, Italy, as they conduct a mass jump. Some of the paratroopers were jumping in Italy for the first time and with the new T-11 parachutes.
Paratroopers from the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) dot the sky Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, near Aviano Air Base, Italy, as they conduct a mass jump. Some of the paratroopers were jumping in Italy for the first time and with the new T-11 parachutes. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
Four-year-old Jaden spends time with her father, Pfc. Jeremy Monteleone,  the day before he deploys to Afghanistan for a nine-month tour, Aug. 25, 2013.
Four-year-old Jaden spends time with her father, Pfc. Jeremy Monteleone, the day before he deploys to Afghanistan for a nine-month tour, Aug. 25, 2013. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
Staff Sgt. Floyd Combs carries his duffle bag and rucksack in the rain at the beginning of a long day of processing for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan, Aug. 26, 2013.
Staff Sgt. Floyd Combs carries his duffle bag and rucksack in the rain at the beginning of a long day of processing for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan, Aug. 26, 2013. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
Gen. Frank Gorenc talks about his duties and challenges as the new commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa in an interview with Stars and Stripes on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, at USAFE headquarters on Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Gen. Frank Gorenc talks about his duties and challenges as the new commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa in an interview with Stars and Stripes on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, at USAFE headquarters on Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
Although everyone can buy dirndl and lederhosen -- and lots of tourists do -- there were plenty of real Bavarians wearing their traditional clothing on opening day of the 180th Oktoberfest in Munich, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013.
Although everyone can buy dirndl and lederhosen -- and lots of tourists do -- there were plenty of real Bavarians wearing their traditional clothing on opening day of the 180th Oktoberfest in Munich, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Members of the 31st Fighter Wing's base honor guard stand ready to place a hat from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard at a table designated for fallen or missing comrades during a ceremony to honor prisoners of war and missing in action Oct. 3, 2013, at Aviano Air Base, Italy.
Members of the 31st Fighter Wing's base honor guard stand ready to place a hat from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard at a table designated for fallen or missing comrades during a ceremony to honor prisoners of war and missing in action Oct. 3, 2013, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
After a memorial ceremony Friday,  Oct. 18, 2013, soldiers pay their respects to Special Agent Joe Peters, 24, who was killed Oct. 6 during a raid with U.S. Army Rangers to capture an insurgent leader.
After a memorial ceremony Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, soldiers pay their respects to Special Agent Joe Peters, 24, who was killed Oct. 6 during a raid with U.S. Army Rangers to capture an insurgent leader. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
The 21st Theater Sustainment Command color guard, dressed in military uniforms from throughout the years, marches off the Panzer Kaserne parade field for a Veterans Day Observance in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Nov. 7, 2013.
The 21st Theater Sustainment Command color guard, dressed in military uniforms from throughout the years, marches off the Panzer Kaserne parade field for a Veterans Day Observance in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Nov. 7, 2013. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
The wife of a 39th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control) soldier holds a sign welcoming him home Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
The wife of a 39th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control) soldier holds a sign welcoming him home Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern, Germany. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
After parachuting onto a farmer's field Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, outside the German town of Alzey, Capt. Michael Wetlesen of the Air Force's 435th Contingency Response Group was met by his wife, Samantha, and son Michael Jr., who he pushed back to the rally point in his stroller.
After parachuting onto a farmer's field Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, outside the German town of Alzey, Capt. Michael Wetlesen of the Air Force's 435th Contingency Response Group was met by his wife, Samantha, and son Michael Jr., who he pushed back to the rally point in his stroller. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

A look at some of the best photos taken by Stars and Stripes reporters and photographers covering military life in 2013.

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