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RJ Schlachter

I also dont know where to start. I was born in Fort Meade, Maryland to a Navy dad. Funny, because Fort Meade is an Army base and my Dad was Navy. My Dad actually gave us choices on where to go if I remember, or they talked about it for so long that we actually had no choice. My father had a few options, one being Hawaii and the other Turkey.

George C.Marshall High School!!! There’s a story there, but not one I would like to relive. On the positive side, I have a lot of great friends and people I call family. I have seen a lot of great places. My Dad, being a history geek, took me on a lot of trips around Turkey. Like seeing a horse grave. It’s sad that most people are afraid of what’s across the huge oceans, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. Some people don’t believe me when I say I’ve been to a lot of places, because in their heads they’re dangerous and to me they’re places I called home. I loved the food and the culture. Bryan Wardwell is a brat and a family member. The only images I have left are the ones in my head.

I can say this, being a brat is an amazing feeling. I have traveled a good half of the U.S. and I don’t plan on stopping. Even though Ive been in Oklahoma the longest, it isn’t the place where I’ll pass. Growing up a brat gave me a sense of adventure. I saw some amazing things and stuff that no other kid stateside will ever see.

Michael Rueter

This is to honor My Son’s sacrifices to our country.

As a US Merchant Marine returning home from a Marine Corps pre positioning ship. I asked my son’s teacher if she might mention April as Military Brat month. I had hoped she might point out the sacrifice these young soles make for us all. I thought she might, in some way, point out my son’s part in the defense of our country. She was not receptive, pointing out the fact that I am not active military, and she would be right.

I stand watch on military support vessels, be it the Marine Corps, Navy, or Army. I am not active duty. My son Gabriel, sees me 1/3 of the time. 2/3rd, I am away from home, on watch. Gabriel is dual citizenship American and Philippine. He has attended school in Saipan, Philippines, and Texas. He has no base housing or support groups to convey any sense of community. None of his classmates know what it’s like to say goodbye to their fathers so often for so long, 2, 4, and sometimes 6 months at a time. And sadly, to no fault of his own, he is denied the badge of honor that is “Military Brat.”

I once knew life as a Military Brat for a brief time in high school. Mother served in the Army. I am proud to have this honor. Thank you for allowing me my voice.

Joan Kovace-Raisner

I was five years old. My dad, at age 35 with two daughters, was in the last group to be called up for the draft in WWII. My parents were shocked. They thought WWII was almost over. He was assigned to Lakehurst NJ Naval Base to work on dirigibles — hot air craft. After he completed basic training my mom, sister and I moved from Cleveland into base housing to be with him. At some point the Hindenberg blew up and everyone in the little gondola at the bottom of the craft was killed. Maybe hot air craft were cancelled then. Major changes were going on in the adult world.

Not in the kid’s world. The base was utterly filled with children of all ages and we ran in and out of everywhere and just generally ran wild. I picked up language that resulted in a very public mouth soap-washing, but generally, as a mob of Navy brats, we were never supervised or organized.

I have a vivid memory of being carried on my father’s shoulders into New York City to celebrate V-E Day. We rode the Staten Island Ferry, saw amazing fireworks, and the noise never stopped. The cheering, the firecrackers, the city lights reflected on the water, the people crowded into spaces where we would never ordinarily fit. Incredibly, the Ferry did not founder. I fell asleep on the way back to the base. It was the most exciting celebration that I have ever experienced in my life and I have lived a long time now. That was seventy years ago. Wow.

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