Erik Slavin

Erik Slavin is the bureau chief for the European and Middle Eastern theaters of operation. Slavin previously reported on military matters in the Pacific region from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.

Meisenheim is postcard perfect and a nice place to make a pit stop

Not far from Kaiserslautern, there’s a fairy-tale village penetrable only to those who possess a pure heart — and a GPS and some cash.

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Nuremberg Toy Museum explores change through our playthings

Playtime for the average middle-class kid once meant preparation for work as an adult.

Retired Gen. Frederick Kroesen, whose career spanned from WWII to the late Cold War, dies at 97

Retired Gen. Frederick Kroesen fought in Korea and Vietnam, and served as Army vice chief of staff during his 40-year career. He died at the age of 97.

Germany limits public gatherings, Italy bans outdoor exercise in fight against pandemic

Tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel and their families are among the millions living under new restrictions on activity in Germany and Italy, as the two countries grapple with containing the spread of the coronavirus.

Bratwursthausle or Roeslein: Who will win between these Nuremberg bratwurst kings?

Nuremberg’s bratwurst is a pretty big deal in Germany’s vast pantheon of sausages.

While visiting the D-Day beaches, check out nearby Bayeux

The 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy will bring vast numbers of visitors to the memorials and sites along the invasion beaches, where some of the last veterans alive who helped win World War II will be honored.

Army may need bigger retirement plan perk to sustain officer experience levels, study says

The study comes as the Army moves away from its legacy retirement system, which pays a larger guaranteed amount to soldiers after at least 20 years of service, to a blended system that pays out after less time served.

Kaiserslautern’s Fisch Schira is a seafood oasis in the landlocked German Pfalz

Living in the Kaiserslautern area is an adjustment for anyone who grew up by the water. The Rhine and a few tributaries aren’t a long drive, and there’s a lake or two nestled in the vast forests of the Pfalz. They’re nice, but surfing is out, and for the most part, so is good seafood.

The end of allcaps and !!!! in performance reviews gains support from sailors

The Navy’s new annual performance evaluation will be missing several exclamation points, lots of capital letters and a rating block system that some sailors said allows lesser performers to advance because they aren’t being compared broadly enough with their peers.

Russian jet flies dangerously close to Navy aircraft during Black Sea operations

Two unsafe passes by a Russian fighter jet put a U.S. military aircraft at risk during flight operations over the Black Sea, Navy officials said Monday.


Navy recovers fuel from sunken ship once used for atomic bomb practice

Navy divers finished recovering an estimated 250,000 gallons of oil Monday from a captured warship that survived World War II and two atomic bomb tests before sinking 72 years ago.

Air Force general to retire after probe finds misconduct

Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV will retire on Dec. 1, after not being allowed to pin on his second star and receiving a letter of admonishment, an Air Force spokeswoman said in response to a Stars and Stripes query Thursday.

Navy names new top enlisted leader

Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer Russell Smith's selection comes following the announced retirement of Steven Giordano as the Navy’s top enlisted leader in June, amid allegations that he fostered a hostile work environment in his office.

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Death at sea separated these twins 74 years ago. Now they're back together.

The brothers' burial together in Normandy is a culmination of improbable events that included the review of a grave marked “unknown” in Belgium, a high school history project, a military forensics team review and a family gathering in Nebraska.

Possible shooter threat cancels classes at Okinawa base schools

Schools officials later reported no serious threats at either Kubasaki High School on Camp Foster or at Kadena High School at Kadena Air Base after threatening graffiti sparked fears of potential shooting incidents.

Navy to christen first ship named after top enlisted leader

The first ship to bear the name of a master chief petty officer of the Navy will be christened at the Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., on Saturday.

Report: Bridge, crewmembers' errors led to deaths aboard 2 Navy destroyers

The two collisions that killed a combined 17 sailors aboard the destroyers USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain resulted from sailors not following procedures and lack of communication between officers and the rest of the ship, a Navy report released Wednesday concluded.

Card in a bottle sparks 70-year-old Army mystery in Japan

Using a whiskey bottle, a business card and some rudimentary carpentry, Lt. Col. Eugene J. McNamara found a way to be remembered.

Search for missing USS Shiloh sailor suspended after exhaustive effort

The Navy and Japan Coast Guard suspended their search at midnight Sunday for a USS Shiloh sailor who officials say likely fell overboard in the Western Pacific this past week.

Lead detected in water at Navy elementary school in Japan

Water fixtures at the Navy’s Ikego Elementary School in Japan have again registered high levels of lead, though officials say families thus far appear to be unaffected following voluntary blood testing.

Reagan, Vinson carrier groups team with Japanese off Korean Peninsula; Nimitz on its way

The USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson strike groups operated in formation alongside Japanese forces in waters near the Korean Peninsula Thursday, marking the largest display yet of naval power in response to North Korea’s recent ballistic missile tests.


Navy officer cleared of attempted teen sex-assault charges by military jury

A Navy officer accused of attempted sexual assault of a minor following an Okinawa sting operation was acquitted of five related charges by a court martial jury on Thursday.

Sawyer nominated to head Yokosuka-based 7th Fleet

Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer is currently the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, headquartered in Hawaii. His experience includes command of Pacific Fleet’s submarine forces, as well as an earlier command of the Yokosuka-based submarine Group 7.


USS Ronald Reagan now underway on patrol amid uncertainty in Asia

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan departed its Yokosuka homeport Tuesday for a scheduled patrol of the Asia-Pacific region, amid concerns about North Korea and questions about how the White House will address China’s claims to the South China Sea.

USS Ronald Reagan patrol delayed by repair issue

The USS Ronald Reagan’s departure has been delayed due to an unspecified issue aboard the aircraft carrier, Navy officials said Monday.

Despite Navy requests, no operations near disputed South China Sea islands

The U.S. military hasn’t announced any freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea since last year, signaling a break from earlier Trump administration rhetoric on curbing China’s ambitions.

Vinson strike group aircraft, ships train while drawing closer to Korean Peninsula

Elements of the USS Carl Vinson strike group trained with allies west of the Korean Peninsula and south of Japan on Wednesday, as the United States continues to watch for signs of an imminent nuclear weapons test from North Korea.

Pence: Carrier group will arrive near Korean Peninsula within days

The USS Carl Vinson strike group will be near South Korea “in a matter of days,” Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday as concerns over a potential North Korean nuclear weapons test continue to mount in the Asia-Pacific region.


Pence in Japan: ‘All options are on the table’ regarding North Korea

Vice President Mike Pence said “all options are on the table” as North Korea continues to develop its nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs, during a speech Wednesday aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

Carl Vinson strike group seen near Indonesia, not the Korean peninsula

If the USS Carl Vinson strike group is heading to the Korean peninsula, it is taking its time.

In show of force, Carl Vinson strike group returns to Korean peninsula

The Carl Vinson strike group is moving toward the Korean Peninsula amid heightened concerns that North Korea could soon conduct a major weapons test.

Budget woes mean less lead time for military family moves

Military families are already faced with less time to move to their next assignments and may see movements delayed if Congress does not take action, service officials told Stars and Stripes this week.

Japan considers missiles to deter N. Korea, strengthen US alliance

A Liberal Democratic Party defense panel said Wednesday that Japan should consider purchasing cruise missiles, along with stronger missile-defense measures, “to further improve deterrence and response as part of the Japan-U.S. alliance."

Civilian identified after death aboard USS Ronald Reagan

A civilian contractor who died recently after an incident aboard the USS Ronald Reagan has been identified as George Gozdziak, his company and Navy officials said Friday.

Navy’s civilian fleet offers former sailors 2nd chance to serve

About 7,000 civilians work for Military Sealift Command, a fleet with a $3 billion annual budget and more daily missions than many of the world’s active-duty sea services.