Top 10 most read on Stripes.com for 2012

A selection of images from the most read online stories for Stripes.com in 2012.


By TOSHIO SUZUKI | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 26, 2012

Know what an "empathy belly" is? Remember the colonel convicted of fraud and bigamy, or the "America’s Got Talent" singer questioned for false claims of being a war hero?

If they sound familiar it’s possibly because these are among the most read online stories from Stars and Stripes in 2012.

The top 10 list below, based on page view totals, shows the variety of reporting coming from staffers in D.C., Asia, Europe and downrange with troops in Afghanistan.

Check out the list and let us know what your favorite story from Stripes.com was this year:


timothy michael poe

No. 10: ‘Military disputes TV contestant’s claim of combat injuries,’ by Stripes web staff, June 5, 2012.
Lead paragraph: A contestant on "America's Got Talent" gained sympathy from the judges and applause from the audience when he described suffering a TBI in Afghanistan, but the military says it has no record of him being injured, The Associated Press reported.
Quote: "We looked very closely at his record," spokesman Lt. Col. Kevin Olson told AP. "We did not find something to substantiate what he said."



No. 9: ‘Obama to nominate Army Gen. Rodriguez to lead AFRICOM,’ by Jennifer Hlad, Oct. 18, 2012.
Lead paragraph: President Barack Obama will nominate Army Gen. David Rodriguez to succeed Gen. Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command and Marine Lt. Gen. John Paxton to succeed Gen. Joseph Dunford as assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Thursday.
Quote: He’s “a proven leader” who oversaw coalition and Afghan forces during the surge in Afghanistan, and “was the key architect of the successful campaign plan that we are now implementing,” Panetta said.


Col. James H. Johnson

No. 8: ‘Former 173rd commander handed reprimand, $300,000 fine,’ by Nancy Montgomery, June 14, 2012.
Lead paragraph: Col. James Johnson, convicted of fraud, bigamy, and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, was sentenced Thursday to a reprimand and a $300,000 fine.
Quote: “I deeply regret having disgraced my family, disgraced my unit, disgraced my profession and disgraced my friends,” he said. “I failed the soldiers I commanded and the officers I served with for 26 years. I’ve lost my son and daughter.”



No. 7: ‘Zama American at risk of losing school accreditation after scathing independent report,’ by Erik Slavin, June 6, 2012.
Lead paragraph: Zama American High School, an institution responsible for educating the children of the Army’s top leaders in the Pacific region, is scrambling to maintain its accreditation after a scathing report by an independent agency flunked the school in most educational categories and uncovered a toxic academic environment.
Quote: “Parents aren’t happy with the attitudes there,” said parent Paul Cote, who has had at least one child in Zama schools since 2005 and was the only parent interviewed who was willing to be identified.


Obama troops

No. 6: ‘What Obama’s re-election means for the military, veterans,’ by Leo Shane III, Nov. 7, 2012.
Lead paragraph: Even though Barack Obama has served as commander in chief for the last four years, his re-election Tuesday will mean significant changes for the military in coming months, especially in terms of defense spending.
Quote: Obama has pledged to trim back the military’s end strength -- the Army by about 70,000, and the Marine Corps by about 18,000, over the next five years -- and reign in the number of senior civilian and military personnel at the Pentagon. The services should start feeling that pinch in 2013.



No. 5: ‘FDA orders halt to sale of products containing DMAA,’ by Travis J. Tritten, April 30, 2012.
Lead paragraph: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ordered fitness supplement companies to immediately stop selling popular bodybuilding and weight-loss products containing DMAA, because of the substance’s potentially fatal side effects.
Quote: “Before marketing products containing DMAA, manufacturers and distributors have a responsibility under the law to provide evidence of the safety of their products. They haven’t done that and that makes the products adulterated,” Daniel Fabricant, director of the FDA’s Dietary Supplement Program, said in the release.



No. 4: ‘Soldiers don fake belly, breasts to better understand pregnant troops’ exercise concerns,’ by Seth Robson, Feb. 16, 2012.
Lead paragraph: The Army is ordering its hardened combat veterans to wear fake breasts and empathy bellies so they can better understand how pregnant soldiers feel during physical training.
Quote: “This whole thing is pretty uncomfortable,” he said of the 25-pound pregnancy simulator. But, “body armor is a lot heavier.”



No. 3: ‘Army’s $5B failed pixelated uniform getting scrapped,’ by Stripes web staff, June 26, 2012.
Lead paragraph: The Army’s pixelated camouflage uniform is getting scrapped — after costing $5 billion and making soldiers easier targets because the design stood out in nearly every environment they were worn in, according to a report in The Daily.
Quote: “Essentially, the Army designed a universal uniform that universally failed in every environment,” an Army specialist who served two tours in Iraq, wearing UCP in Baghdad and the deserts outside Basra, told The Daily.



No. 2: ‘Shipping pets during PCS could cost nearly $4,000 under new rule,’ by Travis J. Tritten, Feb. 14, 2012.
Lead paragraph: Many servicemembers flying internationally on official orders could face steep fare increases for pets beginning next month, when a top military-contracted air carrier changes its baggage policies.
Quote: “This is just going to be devastating and pets are going to be left behind,” predicted Mary Seward-Yamada, owner of Camp Canine Okinawa, a company that specializes in assisting military families with transporting pets between Japan and the U.S.



No. 1: ‘Serving Down Under: Australia offers military jobs to US troops facing separation,’ by Seth Robson, May 8, 2012.
Lead paragraph: U.S. servicemembers looking at career options in this era of shrinking military budgets and force drawdowns might want to take a look Down Under.
Quote: “If you walk into an Australian fighter squadron or a U.S. fighter squadron, you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference,” said Australian Air Force Squadron Leader Bart Langland, who has flown under both flags.


--Toshio Suzuki, @ToshJohn


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