Stars and Stripes is an independent news source that operates from inside the United States Department of Defense but is editorially separate from it. The First Amendment protection which Stars and Stripes enjoys is safeguarded by Congress to whom an independent ombudsman, who serves the readers' interests regularly reports. In addition to its website, Stars and Stripes reports on matters affecting military service members and publishes five daily newspaper editions for the United States Armed Forces serving overseas. The European, Mideast, Okinawa, Japan, and Korea editions are also available as free downloads in electronic format. The newspaper has its headquarters in Washington, DC.
On 9 November 1861, during the American Civil War, soldiers of the 11th, 18th, and 29th Illinois Regiments set up camp in Bloomfield, Missouri. Finding the local newspaper's office empty, they decided to print a newspaper about their activities. They called it the Stars and Stripes. Today, the Stars & Stripes Museum/Library Association is located in Bloomfield.
World War I
During World War I, the staff. roving reporters, and illustrators of the Stars and Stripes were veteran reporter or young soldiers who would later become such in the post-war years. Harold Ross, editor of the Stars and Stripes, returned home to found The New Yorker magazine. 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. Drama critic Alexander Woollcott's essays for Stars and Stripes were collected in his book, The Command Is Forward (1919).
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
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 and showed zeal and talent in publishing and delivering the paper on time. 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.
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