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Top Stars and Stripes stories: Heartfelt remembrances, free-falling Humvees and more

Octavia Osborne stands in front of a portrait of her stepfather, Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, who was killed April 8 in Afghanistan.

DEVON RAVINE/THE NORTHWEST FLORIDA DAILY NEWS (TNS)

By MEREDITH TIBBETTS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 2, 2018

Social media is a dominant part of people’s lives, and it sheds light on what people are reading and finding interesting.

In 2017, people found solace in a tragedy when Green Berets followed through on a promise made by a fallen soldier by showing up at his stepdaughter’s high school graduation. An article about a Marine retiring after 43 years of service also had an impact. Rounding out the list is the infamous Humvee freefall – and the sergeant charged in connection with the destruction.

Over the course of 2017, Stars and Stripes had more than 7.4 million clicks on stories coming directly from Facebook. Here are the top 10 most popular, according to Google Analytics:

1. Green Berets keep fallen soldier’s promise to his stepdaughter After Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar was killed in action, members of the Army's 7th Special Forces Group attended his stepdaughter's graduation ceremony.

2. Longest-serving Marine retires after 43 years of service United States Marine Corps Col. Edmund J. Bowen, who enlisted in 1972, retired in a moving ceremony.

3. Trump makes unannounced trip to honor fallen Navy SEAL President Donald Trump honored the returning remains of a U.S. Navy SEAL killed in Yemen.

4. Noted Air Force command chief master sergeant faces 15 UCMJ charges The charges against former 12th Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Jose A. Barraza were related to his time as the top noncommissioned officer at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, according to the Air Force.

5. Deadliest battle in US history in a war that’s slipping from memory The Battle of the Argonne Forest claimed 26,277 American lives and left 95,786 wounded, astronomical figures compared with battles today.

6. Fort Bragg warns of armed and dangerous former lieutenant colonel with homicidal intentions The installation posted a warning about about former Lt. Col. Anna Heres.

7. Army releases images of combat photographer’s final moments before fatal blast
Photos taken by Spc. Hilda Clayton show the moment a mortar tube exploded, killing Clayton and four Afghan soldiers.

8. Fort Bragg soldier earns rare battlefield promotion during deployment in Iraq In an impromptu ceremony near Al Tarab, Iraq, Sgt. Penderman became Staff Sgt. Penderman.

9. New Air Force secretary presses for a culture change in her service Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said the Air Force has too much bureaucracy, too many regulations and too many people stuck doing busy work.

10. Soldier charged in Humvee's free-fall Three Humvees plummeted to the ground from a C-130 during a parachute drop in Germany.

tibbetts.meredith@stripes.com

Twitter: @mjtibbs

Col. Edmund Bowen, middle, speaks with guests during a cake-cutting ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., on Oct. 14, 2015. Bowen, retired from the Marine Corps after 43 years of service, according to a report on Thursday, Jan 5, 2017.
HAILEY D. STUART/U.S. MARINE CORPS

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