Michelle Clark

In my 48 years on the planet, I have only spent the past 8 away from Army life. I was born in October of 1967 and my father was activated for the Vietnam war in 1968. I used to joke that I have lived everywhere twice, which is true.

I was born in Hays, Kansas and when Dad was activated we moved to Ft. Hood Tx. From Ft. Hood we moved to the DC area, where my brother was born. My father had to complete his degree in order to remain an officer in the Army, so we moved to Tucson, Az. Then off to Pennsylvania, then Vilseck, Germany. While in Germany I learned so much about life, and how different it could be. I lived in a military community, but was out on the economy. I learned that being an officer’s kid wasn’t cool to the enlisted kids, had to learn how to fist fight boys and girls, in order to just make it home from the bus stop. I learned to speak German and made many German friends, which would help me in later years.

My Dad was then stationed at the Pentagon and I relearned American society at the age of 11. I came back wearing Toughskins and whatever could be ordered from the Sears catalog, which was not popular in the US. Living in the DC area has been and always will be the core of who I am. I learned that being true to who you are and intelligence was a priority in my life. I also envied people who grew up in the same place their whole lives. I always had the 3 year plan to change my friends and surroundings. I did not learn the skills for long term relationships until a much later age, and sometimes still revert to the feeling that everything is temporary.

For college I went back to Hays, Ks, moved to Tucson for college as well, moved back in with my parents at Ft. Knox, Ky and then married a man in the Army. We then moved back to Vilseck, Germany, Ft. Hood, Tx and then back to Ft. Knox. Everywhere twice.

I think the positives from being an army brat were the adaptive abilities that I learned; making friends easily, making a home wherever I land, I have seen the world and realize how fortunate we are as Americans and understaing that nothing is permanent.  The negatives are; there is no location that I call home, everything is temporary (so I always expect some end), I can see the bigger picture and have a hard time with people who are extremely narrow minded, I do not feel connected to any one community.