Growing up in a military family was challenging, especially as a 10-year-old girl. My father enlisted in the US army when he turned 18 and spent the following 15 years in the armed forces. As a child moving in-and-out of homes, schools, and friend groups, I remember feeling confused and unstable.
When my father was first stationed in Okinawa at the time I was born, he was on an assignment in the Philippines when the time came for my mother to have me. Somehow, my mother traveled to the military base hospital on her own.
Every few years, we moved from place to place and lived on Army bases in Virigina, Florida, and Georgia all throughout my childhood years. We eventually moved back to my parents’ hometown in Honolulu, Hawaii.
When I look back at all of our homes, I remember all of the rooms looking very similar. Our furniture was always provided for us at each Army base, which was to minimize my family’s moving expenses.
When it came to making friends at school and building relationships with my peers, it was extremely challenging. My family only stayed in a single location for a few years, so by the time I did make new friends, it was time for me to move to the next assignment.
Throughout my childhood, I lived on base. I attended school on base, played sports teams on base, went to the movie theatre on base, and went shopping with my parents to the commissary (military code for supermarket) on base. Rarely did my family venture to other towns outside of base.
When I look back at my childhood, I can’t say that my youth was horrible. The military provided an excellent experience for my family, and although I never lived a traditional childhood and built life-long friendships, the military was an interesting experience for a young girl, and I’m proud to have grown up in a military family.
This story was inspired by: https://www.quora.com/Childhood-What-is-it-like-to-grow-up-as-a-military-brat
If you’re growing up or grew up in a military family, please check out the resources for military children in our previous blog, “PCS and the Impact on Military Families.”