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Islanders show their appreciation of Operation Christmas Drop by leaving a holiday message for C-130 aircrews dropping supplies to the islands Dec. 11, 2014, over the Pacific Ocean. Operation Christmas Drop, which has occurred since 1952, is the world’s longest humanitarian airlift mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Amanda Morris)

Operation Christmas Drop supplies islands with bundles of joy

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- The men and women from Team Andersen and Yokota Air Base, Japan, dropped its last bundle of joy Dec. 13 to the...

The end result from making the Popin' Cookin sushi candy kit.  Photo courtesy of Jessica A Paje

Popin' cookin candy kits by Kracie

The Do-It-Yourself candy kits made by Kracie are so clever and ridiculously awesome. They make fantastic stocking stuffers at Christmastime for...

Shinzo Abe, then a candidate for Japan's prime minister position, is seen leaving the Yasukuni Shrine after he paid homage to the war dead in Tokyo on Oct. 17, 2012. Moves such as the visit, and Japan's refusal to apologize for the use of Korean "comfort women" during World War II has kept South Korea-Japan relations from moving forward, analysts say. (The Associated Press)

Old disputes keep Japan, South Korea from forging stronger ties

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — There was little fanfare when a dozen retired South Korean air force officers visited Japan’s Air Defense Command...

 Reporters and other visitors gather to inspect the bow of the Haikou, a Chinese destroyer that arrived in Honolulu in June 2014 for participation in the annual Pacific Rim exercises. This was the first year China sent ships to the exercise from its navy, which the country has dramatically modernized and expanded during the past decade.    Wyatt Olson/Stars and Stripes

Historians say China twisting its history to justify military buildup, aggression

China has increased its defense spending dramatically in the last decade to $131 billion this year, according to its official statements, placing...

 International Auto Logistics opened new vehicle processing centers, like this one in Mildenhall, England, when it took over the contract in May to ship servicemembers' vehicles. The company has faced criticism for late deliveries and not being able to provide accurate information about the location of vehicles.    Adam L. Mathis/Stars and Stripes

Pentagon IG begins investigation into car shipping contract

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — The U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General has opened an investigation of the nearly $1 billion contract to...

Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks at a forum in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 20, 2014. In a letter to Congress, Dempsey encouraged leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees to make a comprehensive effort at reforming compensation for troops, rather than a piecemeal approach, such as solely targeting pensions for generals and admirals. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Pensions and perks for military brass questioned by Congress

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff petitioned Congress last month to retain privileges for top officers that lawmakers are...

The USS Wyoming transits the Saint Marys River after departing Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay Jan. 18, 2012. A dozen sailors are suspected of viewing secretly recorded videos of their female shipmates undressing in a submarine shower over a period of 10 months, according to an investigative report. (James Kimber/U.S. Navy)

Report: 12 sailors implicated in submarine shower scandal

A dozen sailors are suspected of viewing secretly recorded videos of their female shipmates undressing in a submarine shower over a period of 10...

The U.S. Capitol, Dec. 4, 2014. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Congress passes defense budget with troop benefit cuts

WASHINGTON – Congress approved a defense authorization bill Friday, setting priorities for the military and clearing the way for cuts to troop...

The rank of captain has been symbolized by double silver bars since 1832, and is sometimes referred to as railroad tracks.   Robert Barnett/U.S. Air Force

Bill would let 'Grow the Army' officers retire with full pension

WASHINGTON — Some Army officers would not be forced to retire at their previous enlisted rank under a House bill introduced in the final days of...

Experts on homelessness and veterans testify Dec. 11, 2014 on Capitol Hill. (Rick Vasquez/Stars and Stripes)

Hearing: Homelessness among veterans is declining, but goal remains elusive

Veteran homelessness has been reduced 33 percent since 2009, but there is still a long way to go before the U.S. reaches “functional zero,”...

 Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler discusses changes to the Army during a roundtable with reporters at the NATO coalition headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Dec. 9, 2014. Chandler, who retires in January, said the Army needs to train for major conventional operations.    Josh Smith/Stars and Stripes

Outgoing sergeant major of the Army calls for return to basics

KABUL, Afghanistan — As the U.S. presence in Afghanistan shrinks to some 10,000 troops after more than a decade of major counterinsurgency...

Oh, come all ye hungry (Photo by Mike Kanert)

Cooking up Xmas

The holidays are a time for friends and family to gather ‘round a dinner table and enjoy one another’s company over good food. Make this year’s...

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