Bailey's story is just one of many to come in April, The Month of the Military Child.
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If there were a tally for the thing I brag most about, being a military brat would top the list. If there was one conversation topic that I love to be involved in, it’s gotta be military brat talk. To this day, if I see a man in uniform, especially BDUs , I feel like I'm at home.

I would rather use my military ID over my driver's license, even though the picture is not as pleasing, just because I love to flaunt what I am a part of. If some fellow college student of mine decides to use their liberal rights and become snooty and preach to me about the military and its involvement, I will defend my father and his fellow soldiers to the point of tears, maybe even rage. Rage that is from the softest part of my heart.

My military brat life started off in dry Ft. Biggs heat. El Paso is my hometown, if I am forced to give one, but as all military brats know, even if you have only moved as little as my family did, it's hard to write in a real answer on the "hometown" block. No, I never went to middle school with little Bobby from my kindergarten class. It is always interesting to me when people have had the same childhood friends, and have grown up together. Yes, I have retained a few friendships over the years — no, we don't still live in the same city, let alone the same state. In several cases I have been forced to attempt a friendship with a person in a different country. If you have
ever heard of MySpace, you probably hate or love it. For most military brats, MySpace isn't only a place to post your pictures, but a way to track down friends who you never thought you would see again. As a matter of fact, about three days ago I stumbled onto a middle school friend's page, someone I haven't talked to in at least four years. My old friend has grown as much as I have
changed, but military brats always find a way to reconnect … even if only slightly.

Another thing all military brats seem to have in common is personality. By this I don't mean that all of us have the SAME personality, it is impossible due to the fact that we have all been given a random grab bag of a life. But, by this statement I am simply claiming that rarely will you find one of us without a story, without a joke, without a sense of pride or without the willingness to be the first to talk to the new kid in school. If you are a civilian kid, and you have ever experienced the isolated "new kid in school" stigma, come to one of our schools. Here, a friend will find you on your first day of school, and the first things you will discuss are your military brat status, and places you have graced over the past few PCS's.

As a military brat, I can claim things that nobody else can. For example, I never owned a G.I. Joe, but I got to hug a real one every day. I have been in a tank. I know and can describe plenty of military acronyms such as PCS, PX, AFN, COLA, DOD, HHC, XO . I always forget about taxes when I shop off post. I have met Santa plenty of times; he left the mall to come to
our company dinners. I have also eaten Thanksgiving and a few lunches at the DFAC . I have colored plenty of those little books that Army support groups give you to help cope with being a child of a military parent. I have been to Europe and seen things most people out of retirement dream to see — before I even turned 18.

I plan to continue moving around so I can see new things, meet new people and appreciate new circumstances as I was raised to do. Pulling over to the side of the road, or stopping in dead traffic to salute the flag is normal to me. Soldiers in formations, or doing their chants while jogging at 6 a.m. for PT is also normal. After dinner, I often enjoyed watching my father shine his boots crystal clear, and iron and starch his uniform until it was crispy. I have a mother who is very independent — I know that she would not survive as a military spouse if she weren’t. I have
seen my father leave for days, weeks, months and more; I have also cried plenty of tears because of it.

I will continue to brag and reminisce with others about being a military brat. I will continue to be prideful and respective whenever I see a soldier. I would never trade what being a military brat has taught me and made me to be.

Bailey's Army Brat Lingo:

BDU - Battle Dress Uniform

PCS - Permanent Change of Station

PX- Post exchange, a store operated by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service

AFN- American Forces Network

COLA- Cost-of-living index

DOD- United States Department of Defense

HHC- A United States Army Headquarters and Headquarters Company

XO- Executive officer

DFAC- Dining Facilities Administration Center

PT- Physical Training

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