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Brat? You know who you are........

Posted 05-03-2017 at 05:16 PM by llrivero

In honor of Military Family month..... I thought I would give my perspective of a military brat... and only other brats can truly appreciate all of the fun times we had! Military families experience a lifestyle that no one else can understand..... once you cross through the gates of a military installation you are now speaking "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot". You can recite the phonetic alphabet like the best of them. (that is the language spoken over radio transmissions)

It was normal to stop the wherever you were at and whatever you were doing when we heard "colors" over the loud speaker on the Post. You looked for the flag.. or in the direction of the flag. Our uniformed parent would get out of the car, to salute and pay respect to our flag.

We thought nothing of it when a tank or two... or three would go rolling by us while we were at the school yard. Often the civilian kids thought that those of us who went to military schools; (DOD) schools inside the gates for the children of active duty military, we were all walking around in combat boots and carrying M-16's......... trust me we weren't...... unless you were in ROTC....

It was not unusual for our fathers/mothers to be deployed to foreign countries for months at a time.. or sent TDY... or out to the field for wartime scenario practice. My mother especially hated when they came home from "the field" that meant mud removal from uniforms, boots, equipment, floors, carpets, etc... for a good week or so. But, for us... Dad always brought home a MRE for us to have! I loved the ones with the chocolate brownie and the salisbury steak.

I was born in Heidelberg Germany... and we were PCS'd to a new location every 2 to 3 years... all of my life. So, when most of the "brats" are presented with the question......... where are you from? We take a good 5 minutes to answer that question...... Where are You From is a very vague question for brats. "All Over" is usually the best answer.

The usual hang outs included the bowling alley, PX, Commissary, Shoppette, and the swimming pools during the summer. The Commissary and PX were the hustle and bustle of the post on payday... and the day after payday...... you didn't dare go near them. The Commissary baggers were usually retired military vets.... just looking for something to do. They worked for tips only.. and would bag the groceries and take them out to the car for you. They were usually funny... and loved joking around with us kids when we went with Mom.

My favorite thing was Thanksgiving dinner at the Mess Hall! That was the best! The Mess Sergeant always made sure the decorations and the food were over the top! One year, I don't know how they did it, but there was a live goldfish... in a bowl... swimming around in the bowl that was inside a GIANT orange jello mold. Still remember that to this day.. and I think I was in 4th grade.

The coveted ID Card! This was your ticket to everything military........ and you DID NOT DARE loose your ID Card..... without it.... you were not able to move about the post. But, worse than that was your "sponsor" having to sit in the ID office with you... when they should have been at work.... that was never fun.

Some of the things I would never change or trade about being a military brat are the people that you meet along the way and the bonds you form with the friends you make. You learn as a military brat that time is short and time is precious. You must make friends quickly...... you cannot be shy. You learn to walk into the crowd and become a part of it. You get to experience so many different parts of our country....... and you get to experience other cultures in their country. I have seen so many places and traveled thanks to my father's decision to serve his country.

My friends of military parents can appreciate what I am saying..... and I am sure add to the list of things only military brats experience........

But, all of this is only a piece of the military life and the commitment to our USofA....
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