military brat

Apparently April is the Month of the Military Child (who knew?). The U.S. Department of Defense estimates that approximately 15 million Americans are former or current military brats, but interestingly this group isn’t often represented in Young Adult literature…which is something I’m trying to change. πŸ™‚

Β 

So this month, hug a B.R.A.T.!

You know you’re a Military Brat when…

  • People ask you that dreaded question, β€œSo, where are you from?” and you stand there stuttering, never knowing exactly how to answer. This simple question almost always turns into a conversation!
  • You hardly ever forget/lose your driver’s license, as you were β€œtrained” to carry an ID on you at all times since age 10 (and that 10th birthday was a major milestone because it meant getting your first ID card!)
  • You associate the National Anthem with going to the movies, since it was always played before the feature film at any theater on post/base. Everybody in the theater stood up and at the time that wasn’t at all weird.
  • Going away to summer camp or college was no big deal, since you were used to being thrown into new groups of people and were usually able to adapt quickly.
  • You lived in places many people associate with dream vacations (e.g. Hawaii, Europe, Asia).
  • Every 3 years or so you get this β€œitch” to move to a new place or do something completely different.
  • You felt strange the first time you went to a school or joined a group where almost everybody shared your race/religion, since for you, being part of a multi-cultural community was far more β€œnormal.”
  • Before you got into trouble as a teen, you at least reflected on how your actions might impact your soldier parent’s career.
  • You go out of your way to make someone new feel welcomed (whether in school, the neighborhood, or the office), since you’ve been in that same situation many times.
  • Some of your best friends are other military brats and no matter how many months or years you’re apart, the moment you see each other again you pick right up where you left off.
  • You know the suffering that comes with saying goodbye to someone you love, and what it means to sacrifice for something greater than yourself.
  • In many ways, you grew up fast and learned to carry responsibilities other American kids don’t usually deal with, especially if you ever had a parent deployed to a war zone. Despite these challenges, you have a resilient, independent, open-minded, and adventurous outlook on life!

Okay military brats…what else would you add? πŸ™‚

0 thoughts on “You Know You're a Military Brat When…

    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes, I don’t know of any military brat who was not profoundly shaped by their upbringing…I’m sure that’s true of everybody, but there’s also something specific about this lifestyle that’s hard to shake.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes, I don’t know of any military brat who was not profoundly shaped by their upbringing…I’m sure that’s true of everybody, but there’s also something specific about this lifestyle that’s hard to shake.

  1. You carry more than one currency in your wallet and you have at some point given the wrong one to the cashier.
    Your holiday weekends are never spent at the house.
    You don’t do high school reunions since half of the schools you went to are now closed.
    You truly appreciate technology to keep in touch with friends and family. Ex. Skype, Facebook, IM, ect.
    You called any grocery store the commissary.
    When you are in a new area you question whether you are “on” or “off post”

    1. Oh my word! I get the strangest looks because I am ALWAYS calling the grocery store a Commissary and I am always calling the local drug store the PX! And I thought I was the only one! πŸ™‚

  2. You carry more than one currency in your wallet and you have at some point given the wrong one to the cashier.
    Your holiday weekends are never spent at the house.
    You don’t do high school reunions since half of the schools you went to are now closed.
    You truly appreciate technology to keep in touch with friends and family. Ex. Skype, Facebook, IM, ect.
    You called any grocery store the commissary.
    When you are in a new area you question whether you are “on” or “off post”

    1. Oh my word! I get the strangest looks because I am ALWAYS calling the grocery store a Commissary and I am always calling the local drug store the PX! And I thought I was the only one! πŸ™‚

  3. My ex-wife was always sarcastic about my ability to ”CHAT UP” strangers, cashiers at a store, people waiting at a stop light, etc.,ect. She never understood what it felt like to make conversation with someone you’d never met. Usually it was, “Well, aren’t you Mister Friendly?”

  4. My ex-wife was always sarcastic about my ability to ”CHAT UP” strangers, cashiers at a store, people waiting at a stop light, etc.,ect. She never understood what it felt like to make conversation with someone you’d never met. Usually it was, “Well, aren’t you Mister Friendly?”

  5. I loved when the base come to a stand still cars, people, work – no matter where you are at 1700 while the anthem plays

    1. YES!!! And that is another one of those traditions I now look back on and realize how weird such a thing would appear to civilians. But I still want to stop what I’m doing and freeze whenever I hear that anthem!

  6. I loved when the base come to a stand still cars, people, work – no matter where you are at 1700 while the anthem plays

    1. YES!!! And that is another one of those traditions I now look back on and realize how weird such a thing would appear to civilians. But I still want to stop what I’m doing and freeze whenever I hear that anthem!

  7. Military Brats

    You know you are a military brat if you …

    …actually like the clothes at the BX and don’t mind that 100 other people are wearing the same thing.
    …all your former very best friends are as long gone as your last move.
    …always wish you were back at the last place you were stationed even 20 years later.
    …answer the question “where are you from” with “I’m kinda from all over the place.”
    …are able to imitate others’ speech patterns easily.
    …are amazed at people who have lived somewhere more than three years.
    …are amazed at people who have never left their hometown.
    …are amazed at people who have who have never seen foreign currency.
    …are amazed at people who think Frankfurt is a some kind of hotdog.
    …are asked “where did you learn to speak English so well”.
    …are asked is it hard always moving around when you don’t know anything different.
    …are brought to tears by military music.
    …are going to a grocery store but call it a commisary.
    …are initially confused when asked where you are from,but quickly respond everywhere.
    …at 22 you are trying to find someone in the military to marry so you can get a new I.D. card.
    …avoid visiting the doctor because you don’t trust civilian hospitals.
    …bagged groceries at the commisary on payday.
    …bought US savings bonds.
    …can ask for a beer in most european languages.
    …can bounce a quarter off your bedsheets and have a hospital corner on your bed.
    …can call up actual memories of a country while you’re in Geography class.
    …can identify ranks and duty station by the stickers on the car’s bumper.
    …can not speak the language of the country in which you were born.
    …can recite all of the AFRTS commercials along with the television.
    …can remember ordering a Big Mac, fries and a beer.
    …can still convert forgein currency in your head.
    …can talk to anyone and everyone from anywhere and everywhere.
    …can’t convince a stateside cousin that your Japanese kimono doll REALLY came from Japan.
    …can’t drink Budweiser without being coerced.
    …conceal your father’s rank because once people find out he has stars they’ll never treat you the same.
    …craved to have a class six ration card.
    …didn’t save things so you wouldn’t go over the weight allowance of the next move.
    …didnt see a TV till you were almost a teenager.
    …do not understand why many of your friends are afraid to be in an airplane.
    …don’t believe it when someone tells you they never left their hometown.
    …don’t feel quite right seeing military personnel younger than you.
    …don’t really know how to answer the question “what is your home town”.
    …dont remember the names of your childhood friends.
    …draw a quick map of the world to show someone where you last lived.
    …enjoy seeing guys in fatigues on city streets.
    …ever got sick eating chocolate field rations.
    …every room you’ve ever had was stark white and you couldn’t put nail holes in the walls.
    …everyone complains about your name being the most scratched out in their address book.
    …everywhere you go, you think you see someone you went to school with.
    …expect someone else to do your housework but can’t afford it.
    …feared turning 21 because they would take your id card away.
    …feel like you should be visiting the states rather than living in them.
    …feel more at home on a military base than in town even though you’ve been a civilian for 26 years.
    …feel more comfortable living near a military base and get bummed-out when a base gets closed.
    …felt like a part of history that was happening around you.
    …find that you can easily amuse yourself for hours at airports, train or bus stations.
    …find yourself with friends throughout the world.
    …get frustrated when other talk about going to their hometown to see old friends, teachers, etc.
    …get nostalgic when seeing O.D. Green.
    …get the itch to move every 3-4 years and forever feel like the outsider in the civilian world.
    …give someone a break because they are in the military.
    …go into culture shock upon returning to the states.
    …got beer from the Limonade man at the kiosk.
    …got dressed up and played pranks at Fasching.
    …got grounded or restricted to quarters or put on KP duty.
    …got in trouble on the train to Berlin for taking a picture.
    …graduated from a high school you only attended for a year.
    …had a dad who bought you a used SAM to play with.
    …had a father who was always telling you to “police the area”.
    …had a pup-tent in your yard until your parents found out what was going on in there.
    …had a supply of K-Rations that you traded with your friends.
    …had Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in a mess hall
    …had your introductory speech prepared and memorized for your first day at a new school .
    …had your school lunches planned and served by people wearing sergeant or private stripes.
    …have a collection of bunch of beer caps from everywhere.
    …have a very best lifelong friend who you have known for less than a few years.
    …have been asked just where in NY APO is.
    …have been hit on at the young age of 13 by men in uniform.
    …have driven four hours to Munich for the taste of a poorly done Big Mac.
    …have to explain that being born in Germany does not make you German.
    …have to explain why your ssn is from an APO and your home of record and state of residence don’t match.
    …have forgotten how to speak more languages than most people ever learn.
    …have USAA as your insurance company.
    …haven’t seen your best friend since the last time Dad was transferred.
    …hear the sound of freedom when military aircraft fly by while civilians complain about the noise.
    …know exactly how horrible AFN commercials are.
    …inexplicably have the urge to move to a new place every year for no reason at all.
    …keep bumping into people all over the world who know friends that you haven’t seen in years.
    …kept evac-backpacks by the front door with clothing and passports incase “IT” happened.
    …knew the rank and name of the kid next door’s father before meeting the kid next door.
    …know how great it is to be able to return to base and your little slice of America.
    …know how to pack a footlocker.
    …know kilometers better than miles and celcius better than fahrenheit.
    …know that Radio Luxemborg was the number one way to keep up with the latest rock and roll hits.
    …know the words and tune to military march songs.
    …know what “the land of the big PX is.”
    …know what a jump tower is and after a few beers – thought it made good sense to climb one.
    …know what Ami geh heim or knittle in die buxe means.
    …know what the “land of the round door knobs is”.
    …know what the relative value of a pfenningwon or yen is compared to the U.S. Dollar.
    …knowing about a variety of cultures.
    …left school frequently for bomb scares.
    …like institutional-style cooking and enjoyed going to the Mess Hall.
    …liked going shopping with mom for an hour and a half drive because the BIG PX sold Canoe.
    …listened to Armed Forces and VOA radio for the 1st 10 years of your life.
    …made better grades in geography because you’d been to the places you were studying.
    …meet another military brat sometime somewhere and are instantly bonded.
    …miss shopping at AAFES or the PX.
    …most of your Scout camping equipment had US instead of BSA stamped on it.
    …most of your siblings were born in various foreign lands.
    …munched hot brotchen & gummies on the way to school.
    …name schools in three countries on two continents when asked what highschool you attended.
    …never quite finished decorating your place because you knew you’d be moving soon.
    …notice Tom Cruise in uniform, outside with no hat and having a non-regulation haircut in Top Gun.
    …painted a picture on the Berlin Wall before it fell.
    …panic when you can’t find your i.d or passport.
    …played American Football at the schwim bad to impress the german girls.
    …polished your fathers boots and brass for his upcoming inspection.
    …put your hand over your heart at 5 p.m. knowing the flag was coming down… somewhere.
    …realize that the latest fashion in the states is not the same clothes you bought on base.
    …refer to being in the U.S. as “in the world.”
    …remember following your favorite film as it made the rounds on the AAFES theater circuit.
    …remember being able to watch the Super Bowl or World Series live on TV at 2 am.
    …remember Chris Noel’s dedication show on Armed Forces radio during the Vietnam war.
    …remember hanging out at the AYA.
    …remember the Sat. afternoon tank rides at FT Hood.
    …say think opsec to your friend so they will keep it secure then realize it won’t make sense to then.
    …start a major portion of your conversations with “when I was in…
    …stand up and recite the national anthem at the start of movies.
    …still do yard detail!
    …still get the urge to pack up and move about every 22 months.
    …still look for you ID card after you’ve grown up.
    …stopped saying I used to live in Japan because people kept asking you if you spoke Chinese.
    …talk to someone with an accent and pick it up yourself.
    …tell everyone you are from a town that you haven’t lived in since you were 4 years old.
    …the oldest friend you have is from your senior year of high school.
    …the term “combat loaded” refers to how the movers load the van.
    …think locals have such a limited perspective.
    …think of your childhood neighbors Fathers and Mothers by their rank.
    …think the US seems like a foreign country.
    …think you see old classmates on every corner, whether you are in Brussels, Bangkok, or Boise.
    …thought all doctors issued all purpose capsules for every ache and pain.
    …thought all pens had “US Government” printed on them.
    …thought aspirin came in 5,000 count bottles.
    …thought everyone slept under green or blue wool blankets that had “US” on them.
    …thought that a firing range made a great playground.
    …thought that the Quartermaster was the real Santa Claus.
    …thought vacations meant going stateside to visit the grandparents.
    …told civilian friends stateside where you lived and they complimented your English.
    …try to remember to drive on the right side of the road.
    …try to take out your ID card when you enter a grocery store.
    …use words like “hit the deck”, “visit the head” and
    “pogey bait”.
    …used the federal warnings on your I.D. card to convince your cousins that you were a military agent.
    …waited every Saturday at noon for the alert sirens to go off.
    …went in to hysterics when your grandparents thought of selling their house.
    …went out and found everybody leaving on Manuevers.
    …went to school in a converted POW camp.
    …were born in an US occupied country and moved every 3 years.
    …were more interested in your new friend’s father’s rank than what color your friend was.
    …were pleased to find upon returning stateside that the locals spoke American.
    …when after 20 years as a secretary you still think of yourself as a yeoman.
    …when battleship grey makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
    …when you can shine your military kids brass better then he can.
    …when you come to the US and turn on the T.V. and notice that the shows are in english.
    …when you first log-in to this www site and get the goose bumps.
    …when your civilian boss has to ask you more than once not to say Yes sir and No sir.
    …woke up to F-4’s zooming overhead.
    …wonder if dad signed a hand receipt when you were born.
    …wondered who your new best friend would be as you enroll in yet another school.
    …you make things up about where you are from avoid the headaches of telling the whole long story.
    …you are confused when your fiance talks about watching trees grow large in front of the house.
    …you can recite which aircraft were in service in which era.
    …you graduate from 12th grade and it’s your 13th school .
    …you had your own punch card at the local Class VI store since you were 16
    …you have climbed down to Survival Beach and back up.
    …you use Script or MPC’s instead of green backs.
    …you went on week-long field trips to England, France and Italy.
    …you’d been to every Gasthaus in Germany, both East and West before you were 18.
    …your ssn, home of record, state of residence, and place of birth are far from matching.
    ..know transfer meant pack your toys and say see ya later.
    ..were in your late teens before you realized flashlight batteries came in any color but OD.

    If you can still recall any of these, then you are truly a Military Brat

    1. WOW! Thanks so much for this, Mike! You certainly know military life well and your detailed list brought back so many memories. It’s also interesting to read about the experiences of different brat generations, because even though some of the things on your list changed over the years (I would have loved a Class VI punch card when I was 16! πŸ™‚ ), I can picture them all happening without having to stretch my imagination! It was fun to read about details I’d almost forgotten about too…my sisters and I loved to trade MREs and we had many a holiday meal in the mess hall! Have you seen this documentary on military brats yet? http://www.bratsourjourneyhome.com/

    2. Love the list-can identify with so, so many of them.

      Adding-

      When you teach history you realize you experienced so many of the world events in person. I still get tears when I talk about the Berlin Wall-lived there 1960-1963.

      You fit in everywhere and nowhere.

      1. These are great! When we were stationed in Germany I remember my DoDDs high school teacher telling us that we weren’t just studying history, we were “living” it too.

      2. Trish, we will be having an All Class Reunion in Berlin, November 2014. Look us up on http://www.berlinbrats.org! I am not sure if you’ve been to any of the reunions, but I can promise lots of memories and a great time.
        Karen – Class of

        1. Thanks for the info Karen. I was only there first to third grade. I spent high school in Hedelberg and Kaiserslautern. K-Town is having a big reunion this summer in Texas, but I won’t be able to make it (dollars and distance). I am thankful that I am able to keep upo with other brats through blogs and Facebook.

          1. I love the concept of these reunions, but sadly have never made it to one. I’m currently writing a Young Adult novel set in K-Town (though I went to high school in Wuerzburg…the novel is set in the present day so it has to be on a base that’s still open). If you have any little details about life in Kaiserslautern I would certainly love to hear them!

  8. Military Brats

    You know you are a military brat if you …

    …actually like the clothes at the BX and don’t mind that 100 other people are wearing the same thing.
    …all your former very best friends are as long gone as your last move.
    …always wish you were back at the last place you were stationed even 20 years later.
    …answer the question “where are you from” with “I’m kinda from all over the place.”
    …are able to imitate others’ speech patterns easily.
    …are amazed at people who have lived somewhere more than three years.
    …are amazed at people who have never left their hometown.
    …are amazed at people who have who have never seen foreign currency.
    …are amazed at people who think Frankfurt is a some kind of hotdog.
    …are asked “where did you learn to speak English so well”.
    …are asked is it hard always moving around when you don’t know anything different.
    …are brought to tears by military music.
    …are going to a grocery store but call it a commisary.
    …are initially confused when asked where you are from,but quickly respond everywhere.
    …at 22 you are trying to find someone in the military to marry so you can get a new I.D. card.
    …avoid visiting the doctor because you don’t trust civilian hospitals.
    …bagged groceries at the commisary on payday.
    …bought US savings bonds.
    …can ask for a beer in most european languages.
    …can bounce a quarter off your bedsheets and have a hospital corner on your bed.
    …can call up actual memories of a country while you’re in Geography class.
    …can identify ranks and duty station by the stickers on the car’s bumper.
    …can not speak the language of the country in which you were born.
    …can recite all of the AFRTS commercials along with the television.
    …can remember ordering a Big Mac, fries and a beer.
    …can still convert forgein currency in your head.
    …can talk to anyone and everyone from anywhere and everywhere.
    …can’t convince a stateside cousin that your Japanese kimono doll REALLY came from Japan.
    …can’t drink Budweiser without being coerced.
    …conceal your father’s rank because once people find out he has stars they’ll never treat you the same.
    …craved to have a class six ration card.
    …didn’t save things so you wouldn’t go over the weight allowance of the next move.
    …didnt see a TV till you were almost a teenager.
    …do not understand why many of your friends are afraid to be in an airplane.
    …don’t believe it when someone tells you they never left their hometown.
    …don’t feel quite right seeing military personnel younger than you.
    …don’t really know how to answer the question “what is your home town”.
    …dont remember the names of your childhood friends.
    …draw a quick map of the world to show someone where you last lived.
    …enjoy seeing guys in fatigues on city streets.
    …ever got sick eating chocolate field rations.
    …every room you’ve ever had was stark white and you couldn’t put nail holes in the walls.
    …everyone complains about your name being the most scratched out in their address book.
    …everywhere you go, you think you see someone you went to school with.
    …expect someone else to do your housework but can’t afford it.
    …feared turning 21 because they would take your id card away.
    …feel like you should be visiting the states rather than living in them.
    …feel more at home on a military base than in town even though you’ve been a civilian for 26 years.
    …feel more comfortable living near a military base and get bummed-out when a base gets closed.
    …felt like a part of history that was happening around you.
    …find that you can easily amuse yourself for hours at airports, train or bus stations.
    …find yourself with friends throughout the world.
    …get frustrated when other talk about going to their hometown to see old friends, teachers, etc.
    …get nostalgic when seeing O.D. Green.
    …get the itch to move every 3-4 years and forever feel like the outsider in the civilian world.
    …give someone a break because they are in the military.
    …go into culture shock upon returning to the states.
    …got beer from the Limonade man at the kiosk.
    …got dressed up and played pranks at Fasching.
    …got grounded or restricted to quarters or put on KP duty.
    …got in trouble on the train to Berlin for taking a picture.
    …graduated from a high school you only attended for a year.
    …had a dad who bought you a used SAM to play with.
    …had a father who was always telling you to “police the area”.
    …had a pup-tent in your yard until your parents found out what was going on in there.
    …had a supply of K-Rations that you traded with your friends.
    …had Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in a mess hall
    …had your introductory speech prepared and memorized for your first day at a new school .
    …had your school lunches planned and served by people wearing sergeant or private stripes.
    …have a collection of bunch of beer caps from everywhere.
    …have a very best lifelong friend who you have known for less than a few years.
    …have been asked just where in NY APO is.
    …have been hit on at the young age of 13 by men in uniform.
    …have driven four hours to Munich for the taste of a poorly done Big Mac.
    …have to explain that being born in Germany does not make you German.
    …have to explain why your ssn is from an APO and your home of record and state of residence don’t match.
    …have forgotten how to speak more languages than most people ever learn.
    …have USAA as your insurance company.
    …haven’t seen your best friend since the last time Dad was transferred.
    …hear the sound of freedom when military aircraft fly by while civilians complain about the noise.
    …know exactly how horrible AFN commercials are.
    …inexplicably have the urge to move to a new place every year for no reason at all.
    …keep bumping into people all over the world who know friends that you haven’t seen in years.
    …kept evac-backpacks by the front door with clothing and passports incase “IT” happened.
    …knew the rank and name of the kid next door’s father before meeting the kid next door.
    …know how great it is to be able to return to base and your little slice of America.
    …know how to pack a footlocker.
    …know kilometers better than miles and celcius better than fahrenheit.
    …know that Radio Luxemborg was the number one way to keep up with the latest rock and roll hits.
    …know the words and tune to military march songs.
    …know what “the land of the big PX is.”
    …know what a jump tower is and after a few beers – thought it made good sense to climb one.
    …know what Ami geh heim or knittle in die buxe means.
    …know what the “land of the round door knobs is”.
    …know what the relative value of a pfenningwon or yen is compared to the U.S. Dollar.
    …knowing about a variety of cultures.
    …left school frequently for bomb scares.
    …like institutional-style cooking and enjoyed going to the Mess Hall.
    …liked going shopping with mom for an hour and a half drive because the BIG PX sold Canoe.
    …listened to Armed Forces and VOA radio for the 1st 10 years of your life.
    …made better grades in geography because you’d been to the places you were studying.
    …meet another military brat sometime somewhere and are instantly bonded.
    …miss shopping at AAFES or the PX.
    …most of your Scout camping equipment had US instead of BSA stamped on it.
    …most of your siblings were born in various foreign lands.
    …munched hot brotchen & gummies on the way to school.
    …name schools in three countries on two continents when asked what highschool you attended.
    …never quite finished decorating your place because you knew you’d be moving soon.
    …notice Tom Cruise in uniform, outside with no hat and having a non-regulation haircut in Top Gun.
    …painted a picture on the Berlin Wall before it fell.
    …panic when you can’t find your i.d or passport.
    …played American Football at the schwim bad to impress the german girls.
    …polished your fathers boots and brass for his upcoming inspection.
    …put your hand over your heart at 5 p.m. knowing the flag was coming down… somewhere.
    …realize that the latest fashion in the states is not the same clothes you bought on base.
    …refer to being in the U.S. as “in the world.”
    …remember following your favorite film as it made the rounds on the AAFES theater circuit.
    …remember being able to watch the Super Bowl or World Series live on TV at 2 am.
    …remember Chris Noel’s dedication show on Armed Forces radio during the Vietnam war.
    …remember hanging out at the AYA.
    …remember the Sat. afternoon tank rides at FT Hood.
    …say think opsec to your friend so they will keep it secure then realize it won’t make sense to then.
    …start a major portion of your conversations with “when I was in…
    …stand up and recite the national anthem at the start of movies.
    …still do yard detail!
    …still get the urge to pack up and move about every 22 months.
    …still look for you ID card after you’ve grown up.
    …stopped saying I used to live in Japan because people kept asking you if you spoke Chinese.
    …talk to someone with an accent and pick it up yourself.
    …tell everyone you are from a town that you haven’t lived in since you were 4 years old.
    …the oldest friend you have is from your senior year of high school.
    …the term “combat loaded” refers to how the movers load the van.
    …think locals have such a limited perspective.
    …think of your childhood neighbors Fathers and Mothers by their rank.
    …think the US seems like a foreign country.
    …think you see old classmates on every corner, whether you are in Brussels, Bangkok, or Boise.
    …thought all doctors issued all purpose capsules for every ache and pain.
    …thought all pens had “US Government” printed on them.
    …thought aspirin came in 5,000 count bottles.
    …thought everyone slept under green or blue wool blankets that had “US” on them.
    …thought that a firing range made a great playground.
    …thought that the Quartermaster was the real Santa Claus.
    …thought vacations meant going stateside to visit the grandparents.
    …told civilian friends stateside where you lived and they complimented your English.
    …try to remember to drive on the right side of the road.
    …try to take out your ID card when you enter a grocery store.
    …use words like “hit the deck”, “visit the head” and
    “pogey bait”.
    …used the federal warnings on your I.D. card to convince your cousins that you were a military agent.
    …waited every Saturday at noon for the alert sirens to go off.
    …went in to hysterics when your grandparents thought of selling their house.
    …went out and found everybody leaving on Manuevers.
    …went to school in a converted POW camp.
    …were born in an US occupied country and moved every 3 years.
    …were more interested in your new friend’s father’s rank than what color your friend was.
    …were pleased to find upon returning stateside that the locals spoke American.
    …when after 20 years as a secretary you still think of yourself as a yeoman.
    …when battleship grey makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
    …when you can shine your military kids brass better then he can.
    …when you come to the US and turn on the T.V. and notice that the shows are in english.
    …when you first log-in to this www site and get the goose bumps.
    …when your civilian boss has to ask you more than once not to say Yes sir and No sir.
    …woke up to F-4’s zooming overhead.
    …wonder if dad signed a hand receipt when you were born.
    …wondered who your new best friend would be as you enroll in yet another school.
    …you make things up about where you are from avoid the headaches of telling the whole long story.
    …you are confused when your fiance talks about watching trees grow large in front of the house.
    …you can recite which aircraft were in service in which era.
    …you graduate from 12th grade and it’s your 13th school .
    …you had your own punch card at the local Class VI store since you were 16
    …you have climbed down to Survival Beach and back up.
    …you use Script or MPC’s instead of green backs.
    …you went on week-long field trips to England, France and Italy.
    …you’d been to every Gasthaus in Germany, both East and West before you were 18.
    …your ssn, home of record, state of residence, and place of birth are far from matching.
    ..know transfer meant pack your toys and say see ya later.
    ..were in your late teens before you realized flashlight batteries came in any color but OD.

    If you can still recall any of these, then you are truly a Military Brat

    1. WOW! Thanks so much for this, Mike! You certainly know military life well and your detailed list brought back so many memories. It’s also interesting to read about the experiences of different brat generations, because even though some of the things on your list changed over the years (I would have loved a Class VI punch card when I was 16! πŸ™‚ ), I can picture them all happening without having to stretch my imagination! It was fun to read about details I’d almost forgotten about too…my sisters and I loved to trade MREs and we had many a holiday meal in the mess hall! Have you seen this documentary on military brats yet? http://www.bratsourjourneyhome.com/

    2. Love the list-can identify with so, so many of them.

      Adding-

      When you teach history you realize you experienced so many of the world events in person. I still get tears when I talk about the Berlin Wall-lived there 1960-1963.

      You fit in everywhere and nowhere.

      1. These are great! When we were stationed in Germany I remember my DoDDs high school teacher telling us that we weren’t just studying history, we were “living” it too.

      2. Trish, we will be having an All Class Reunion in Berlin, November 2014. Look us up on http://www.berlinbrats.org! I am not sure if you’ve been to any of the reunions, but I can promise lots of memories and a great time.
        Karen – Class of

        1. Thanks for the info Karen. I was only there first to third grade. I spent high school in Hedelberg and Kaiserslautern. K-Town is having a big reunion this summer in Texas, but I won’t be able to make it (dollars and distance). I am thankful that I am able to keep upo with other brats through blogs and Facebook.

          1. I love the concept of these reunions, but sadly have never made it to one. I’m currently writing a Young Adult novel set in K-Town (though I went to high school in Wuerzburg…the novel is set in the present day so it has to be on a base that’s still open). If you have any little details about life in Kaiserslautern I would certainly love to hear them!

  9. Am I the only one who felt like I was a monkey on display every time Dad got transferred? It was like “Look, honey! Military kids! They’re so…so…Well, they are certainly a special bunch, aren’t they?”

    1. This is interesting! I don’t remember feeling that way, but then again most of time we moved to a new school on or near another base so there were always a lot of military kids. Did you live in locations were you were part of civilian schools/neighborhoods? The few times we were in that situation it was always much harder.

  10. Am I the only one who felt like I was a monkey on display every time Dad got transferred? It was like “Look, honey! Military kids! They’re so…so…Well, they are certainly a special bunch, aren’t they?”

    1. This is interesting! I don’t remember feeling that way, but then again most of time we moved to a new school on or near another base so there were always a lot of military kids. Did you live in locations were you were part of civilian schools/neighborhoods? The few times we were in that situation it was always much harder.

      1. We lived in base housing twice in my life and the first time was in Guam, where I was born and I don’t remember it and the second time was during my dad’s two years in Charleston, SC. While there were other military kids in the schools I attended, they weren’t many. Even the high school I attended in Charleston, which was the high school for the base housing, didn’t have a lot of military kids because the school was HUGE! But for the most part we lived in civilian communities and spent most of our time with civilians…Dad thought we should get to know what civilian life was like, even though both of us joined, in case we didn’t go military. And, each time, we were treated like a circus side show act. It didn’t bother me as much as my brother because I’d always turn the tables. πŸ™‚

  11. Still put your groceries on the belt lined up in order with the bar codes ready to be scanned instead of throwing everything on top of each other. My kids always ask me why I line everything up so neatly on the belt.

    1. That’s one I haven’t heard before, but it makes a lot of sense that there would be a “right” orderly way to do things for every aspect of military life! πŸ™‚

    2. So nice to know I’m NOT the ONLY one that does this! I even got one of my friends so stuck on doing that! She asked why I did that and I said “Because that’s how I was raised in the Navy. NEVER stack and ALWAYS have barcode down.” I thought I was the ONLY one in the world that did that! πŸ™‚

  12. Still put your groceries on the belt lined up in order with the bar codes ready to be scanned instead of throwing everything on top of each other. My kids always ask me why I line everything up so neatly on the belt.

    1. That’s one I haven’t heard before, but it makes a lot of sense that there would be a “right” orderly way to do things for every aspect of military life! πŸ™‚

    2. So nice to know I’m NOT the ONLY one that does this! I even got one of my friends so stuck on doing that! She asked why I did that and I said “Because that’s how I was raised in the Navy. NEVER stack and ALWAYS have barcode down.” I thought I was the ONLY one in the world that did that! πŸ™‚

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