Following my Father's Footsteps

Jeffrey's story is just one of many to come in April, The Month of the Military Child.
Continue to visit as FNC continues its celebration of military brats, young and old!

Are you a military child? Click over for information on how YOU can submit your story!

Growing up as a military brat is very hard as a child and as a teenager — I didn't see the benefits of my upbringing until I was older.

I don't think most Americans grasp the sacrifices military families make when one is serving. Wives suffer hardships, since they have to raise a family and keep a home while their partners are deployed. My mother was very important in my life, because my father served for 33 years in the Army. I really didn't get to know him until I was a teenager, and by then, I was not ready to follow his rules, since he was away so much throughout my life.

I attended Catholic and public schools growing up, moved five times as a dependent (that is what military brats are officially called.) I attended three different elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools. I even lived in Korea and Kwajalein (that's a island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.)

Despite being constantly on the run, I had a fun childhood. It is really interesting to live on a military base when you are young. I met people from all around the world. From Germany, to Korea, to Turkey, I was able to see how other people lived, and I realized at a very young age how lucky I was to have a dad in the military. I was proud at an early age to be an American, especially when I lived abroad. I knew I could always return home to the U.S. whenever I wanted. Not everyone had that benefit. So many kids I met would have given anything to come to America. The American flag took on a really special meaning when I was living in foreign countries. I still smile every time I see the flag; it’s so beautiful.

Today, military brats have it easier than when I was growing up. The military pay is a little better, and the rules have changed for types of housing and the locations a family can get stationed at. I followed my father’s footsteps and have served in the Army for 26 years. While I was deployed, my kids stayed in the U.S. — but this was a decision my wife and I made together. My father never had that choice, and was gone for most of his time in the military.

I grew up knowing that a life in the military was an honorable one, and that is why I chose it as my career. My son has followed my footsteps and is in the Air Force.

I remember once when my father was having a social gathering at his house for his boss and some friends prior to his retirement. I was asked to play bartender — I was 16-years-old — and I was enjoying making the drinks, because I was adding a little extra on each drink. I got all of the
wives drunk! The next day, I went to the official award ceremony for my father and saw that the wives were still hung over. But, I soon realized who their husbands were: Vice Chief of Staff for the Army, Under Secretary for the Army, and a couple of 3-stars. Man, my dad was really mad at me, but he did laugh after the event was over.

Well I could go for hours, thank you FOX for remembering the military brats.


• Are you a military child? Click over for some tips on facing deployment.