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Stars and Stripes
The July 27, 2005 front page of
Stars and Stripes (Middle East Edition)
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Defense Media Activity
PublisherMax D. Lederer Jr.[1]
  • Terry Leonard[1]
  • Editorial Director
Managing editors
  • Robert H. Reid[1]
  • (Senior Managing Editor)
  • Brian Bowers[1]
  • (Assistant Managing Editor)
General managerLaura Law (Chief Operating Officer)
Director of InteractiveFred Schecker[1]
Opinion editorBrooks E. Bowers[1]
Sports editorEddie Rogers[1]
OmbudsmanErnie Gates[1]
Founded1861; 163 years ago (1861)
OCLC number8777119

Stars and Stripes is a daily American military newspaper reporting on matters concerning the members of the United States Armed Forces and their communities, with an emphasis on those serving outside the United States. It operates from inside the Department of Defense, but is editorially separate from it, and its First Amendment protection is safeguarded by the United States Congress to whom an independent ombudsman, who serves the readers' interests, regularly reports. As well as a website, Stars and Stripes publishes four daily print editions for U.S. military service members serving overseas; these European, Middle Eastern, Japanese, and South Korean editions are also available as free downloads in electronic format, and there are also seven digital editions.[2] The newspaper has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.[3]



On November 9, 1861, during the Civil War, soldiers of the 11th, 18th, and 29th Illinois Regiments set up camp in the Missouri city of Bloomfield. Finding the local newspaper's office empty, they decided to print a newspaper about their activities. They called it the Stars and Stripes. Tradition holds this as the origin story for the newspaper, and the Stars and Stripes Museum/Library Association is located in Bloomfield.[4][5]

World War I

Front page of a newspaper
The last issue of the WWI Stars and Stripes on June 13, 1919
July 19, 1918 -- A Stars and Stripes illustration by Cyrus Leroy Baldridge

During World War I, the staff, roving reporters, and illustrators of the Stars and Stripes were veteran reporters or young soldiers who would later become such in the post-war years. It was published by the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) from February 8, 1918, to June 13, 1919.[6] Harold Ross, editor of the Stars and Stripes, returned home to found The New Yorker magazine.[7] Cyrus Baldridge, its art director and principal illustrator, became a major illustrator of books and magazines, as well as a writer, print maker and stage designer. Sports page editor Grantland Rice had a long career in journalism and founded a motion picture studio called Grantland Rice Sportlight.[8] Drama critic Alexander Woollcott's essays for Stars and Stripes were collected in his 1919 book, The Command Is Forward.

The Stars and Stripes was then an eight-page weekly which reached a peak of 526,000 readers, relying on the improvisational efforts of its staff to get it printed in France and distributed to U.S. troops.  

World War II

On May 2, 1945, Stars and Stripes announced Hitler's death.

During World War II, the newspaper was printed in dozens of editions in several operating theaters. Again, both newspapermen in uniform and young soldiers, some of whom would later become important journalists, filled the staffs. Some of the editions were assembled and printed very close to the front in order to get the latest information to the most troops. Also, during the war, the newspaper published the 53-book series G.I. Stories.

After Bill Mauldin did his popular "Up Front" cartoons for the World War II Stars and Stripes, he returned home to a successful career as an editorial cartoonist and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and war correspondent Ernie Pyle was regularly published in the Stars and Stripes[9][10] before he was killed by a Japanese machine-gunner on Iejima during the Battle of Okinawa.

The magazine frequently posted photographs of a young Marilyn Monroe, then known as Norma Jeane Dougherty, which later led her as being named "Miss Cheesecake 1952" by Stars and Stripes.[11]

Modern era

Stars and Stripes being delivered to US troops, 2003

Funding and relevance in the digital age have threatened the paper's budget. In 2013, the paper faced job cuts, printing-schedule changes, a pay-raise freeze and travel limitations for staff under the Federal budget sequestration.[12] The print newspapers provide the news back home to service members who are forward-deployed in areas lacking reliable internet access. Coverage of pay and benefits is of direct concern to service members and their families along with life on base and in the field.[13] The paper helps them be better-informed citizens about global geopolitics.[12] Budget cuts by the Pentagon were again considered in 2016.[14]

The Wall Street Journal reported in February 2020, that a draft budget would reduce the newspaper's federal support in 2021 under a $5 billion shift to higher priorities in the defense budget.[14][15] Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Elaine McCusker indicated its funding would be cut and said: "We have essentially decided that, you know, kind of coming into the modern age that newspaper is probably not the best way that we communicate any longer."[14] The subsidy is more than $15 million a year, which represents approximately half the publication's budget and roughly 0.002 percent of the Department of Defense budget, which was $721,500 million in 2020. It was described by the Stars and Stripes ombudsman as "a fatal cut".[13] In September, Defense Secretary Mark Esper justified the decision to discontinue publication of the paper as a result of his department-wide budget review.[16] An order for the newspaper to shutter was issued, specifically by presenting a plan for it to dissolve by September 15, including "specific timeline for vacating government owned/leased space worldwide" and to end publication by September 30, 2020.[17] Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) led a bipartisan group opposed to the move, including Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a veteran, and Susan Collins (R-ME).[18] On September 4, US president Donald Trump appeared to reverse this position by tweeting that funding would not be cut.[19][20] On September 30 the order to close was rescinded.[21]


Stars and Stripes is authorized by Congress and the US Department of Defense to produce independent daily military news and information distributed at U.S. military installations in Europe and Mideast and East Asia. A weekly derivative product is distributed within the United States by its commercial publishing partners. Stars and Stripes newspaper averages 32 pages each day and is published in tabloid format and online at With the website, a social media presence and a couple of podcasts, it is a modern multimedia operation.[13] Stars and Stripes employs civilian reporters, and U.S. military senior non-commissioned officers as reporters, at a number of locations around the world, and on any given day has an audience just shy of 1.0 million. Stars and Stripes also serves independent military news and information to an online audience of about 2.0 million unique visitors per month, 60 to 70 percent of whom are located in the United States.

Stars and Stripes is a non-appropriated fund (NAF) organization, only partially subsidized by the Department of Defense.[14] A large portion of its operating costs is earned through the sale of advertising and subscriptions but it relies on government funding to back overseas reporting and distribution. Unique among the many military publications, Stars and Stripes operates as a First Amendment newspaper and is part of the Defense Media Activity, formed in 2005.[19] The other entities encompassed by the Defense Media Activity (the DoD News Channel and Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, for example), are command publications of the Department of Defense; only Stars and Stripes maintains complete editorial independence.

Stars and Stripes is in the process of digitizing its World War II editions. Newspaper microfilm from 1949 to 1999 is now in searchable format through a partnership with Heritage Microfilm and has been integrated into an archives website. Newspaper Archive has also more recently[when?] made the England, Ireland and Mediterranean editions from World War II available.

Former staffers

The newspaper has been published continuously in Europe since 1942 and in the Pacific since 1945.

Notable former Stars and Stripes staffers include: CBS 60 Minutes' Andy Rooney and Steve Kroft; songwriter and author Shel Silverstein; comic book illustrator Tom Sutton; authors Gustav Hasford and Ralph G. Martin; painter and cartoonist Paul Fontaine; author and television news correspondent Tony Zappone; cartoonist Vernon Grant (A Monster Is Loose in Tokyo); Hollywood photographer Phil Stern; and stock market reporter and host of public television's Wall Street Week, Louis Rukeyser, and the only Black reporter in WWII, Allan Morrison.[22] Patricia Collins Hughes was a former WASP and advocate for WASP veteran status.[23]

In popular culture

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A photograph in Stars and Stripes loosely inspired the exploits of PFC Jack Agnew in the 1965 novel and its 1967 film adaptation, The Dirty Dozen.

American comic strips have been presented in a 15-page section, Stripes' Sunday Comics.

The Stars and Stripes Museum at Bloomfield, Stoddard County, Missouri

Sergeant J.T. "Joker" Davis and Private First Class "Rafterman" are a war correspondent and combat photographer, respectively, stationed in Da Nang for Stars and Stripes in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film Full Metal Jacket.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Stars And Stripes | Staff Directory". Stars and Stripes. n.d. Archived from the original on 17 March 2022. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  2. ^ "Site Map". Stripes. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  3. ^ "Contact Us". Stars and Stripes. October 12, 2010. Archived from the original on September 29, 2010. 529 14th Street NW, Suite 350, Washington, D.C. 20045-1301
  4. ^ "The National Stars and Stripes Museum and Library". The National Stars and Stripes Museum and Library. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  5. ^ Matthews, Ben (September 2, 2020). "Words During Wars: Bloomfield Stars and Stripes Museum expands". Southeast Missourian. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
  6. ^ Library of Congress 2018
  7. ^ Lipsky, Seth (September 7, 2020). "Opinion | I Hope American Soldiers Read Stars and Stripes Forever". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  8. ^ "1918-1919: A Talented Editorial Staff", The Stars and Stripes, Library of Congress Serial and Government Publications Division., retrieved April 25, 2017
  9. ^ Maksel, Rebecca (1 November 2011). "Byline: Ernie Pyle". Air & Space/Smithsonian. Smithsonian Institution. ISSN 0886-2257. LCCN 87654385. OCLC 1054386888. Archived from the original on 11 February 2022. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  10. ^ "At War With The Stars And Stripes". AMERICAN HERITAGE. Retrieved February 11, 2022.
  11. ^ Banner, Lois (2012). Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox. ISBN 9781608195312.
  12. ^ a b Oprihory, Jennifer-Leigh (August 8, 2017). "Pentagon funding cuts may silence Stars and Stripes". Military Times. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  13. ^ a b c Vyse, Graham (June 22, 2020). "The Stars and Stripes newspaper has long supported the troops. Now it needs Congress's support". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c d Darcy, Oliver (February 10, 2020). "Defense Department proposes cutting funding to Stars and Stripes". CNN. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  15. ^ Lubold, Gordon (February 14, 2020). "Military newspaper Stars and Stripes set to lose half its funding as Pentagon shifts budget priorities". MarketWatch. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  16. ^ "Pentagon orders shutdown of Stars and Stripes newspaper". Politico. Associated Press. September 4, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  17. ^ Kiely, Kathy. "The Pentagon has ordered Stars and Stripes to shut down for no good reason". USA Today. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  18. ^ Wise, Justin (September 2, 2020). "Senators call on Pentagon to reinstate funding for Stars and Stripes newspaper". The Hill. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  19. ^ a b Pengelly, Martin (September 4, 2020). "Trump says he will not cut funding to Stars and Stripes newspaper". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  20. ^ "Pentagon rescinding order to shutter Stars and Stripes newspaper". CBS News. September 11, 2020. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  21. ^ Regan Mertz (November 20, 2020). "After 159 years, Stars and Stripes is fighting for its future". Global Journalist.
  22. ^ "Allan Morrison: Barrier breaker, civil rights hero".
  23. ^ Hughes, Patricia Collins (December 1, 1977). "[Clipping: Hallelujah! WASPs Are Veterans at Last!]". "Hallelujah! WASPs Are Veterans at Last!," The Stars and Stripes-The National Tribune, Washington D.C., December 1, 1977. Retrieved March 24, 2022.

Further reading