Growing Up In The Military

Growing Up In The Military

Photo By Bob Smith Unsplash

I wanted to share my experience as a child in a military family growing up.  I would love to receive comments from others in the military, past and present, and their experiences.

Church and trees in Kaufbeuren, Germany where my dad was stationed and we lived for three years – Photo By ID 12019 Pixabay

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Our time living in Germany and back in the states

My dad and mom met while they were both stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas.  They married and I was born within a year, and we lived there until I was 3, when my dad was transferred to Kaufbeuren, Germany in base-housing. 

We lived there for 3 years, and traveled throughout Germany and France, exploring the beautiful castles, countryside, and salt mines.  I do remember the brightly colored teeter-totters on the playgrounds. 

We left Germany and lived in Indiana for 1 year, and because Indiana did not have Kindergarten, I never did have that on my school records.  We then moved to Duluth, Minnesota until the middle of 6th grade.  Both of my sisters were born there. 

My dad was stationed on an island in the Pacific for a year, so my mom and the three of us girls, moved to Colorado, to be close to my grandparents.  I helped my mom with my sisters, but was becoming a teen, and wanted to be with my friends more and more.

I remember when she had to get my sisters out of bed and come down and get me out of a theater in front of my friends.  I was grounded for a while for that!  After that year we moved to Merced, California for 4 years through my sophomore year. 

We then moved to Cheney, Washington for a year, and then to Denver, Colorado my senior year. I went to 3 different high schools in three different states but was still able to graduate with honors.  It wasn’t easy always being the “new kid”, and leaving friends behind to make new ones.

War and losing a fellow soldier take a toll on so many military families – Photo By ID 12019 Pixabay

War and losing fellow soldiers take a toll on servicemen and women

My dad retired in Denver, and my mom decided it was time to go to work.  I still helped out with my sisters, and while we were in Merced.

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My dad had served in Vietnam twice during the war, and due to what they had to endure during that time, he started drinking heavily after he retired in order to deal with the death of many of his fellow soldiers. My dad was “old school”, and was not a man that would talk to anyone.

He did earn a purple heart, but many of us do not realize the toll war takes on soldiers and their families.  He was no longer in actual service, but could not forget what had happened overseas.

He passed away at 64 of a heart attack.   Recently, I started thinking he had PTSD, but when he was still alive he was never checked for that.

You grow up in the military, you are held to strict standards and ethics, that help you when you go out on your own in the world – Photo By 77_Fotos Pixabay

What children learn growing up in the military

I do not regret growing up in the military, as you are brought up on strict standards and ethics, that help you when you go out on your own in the world.  I do wish my dad could have been around more, but that is one sacrifice you make when they make it a career. 

I feel I was better educated, met many people who touched my life, and was able to visit many of the locations we would read about in our history books. It is so much better to see it than just read about it!

You learn to be respectful and honest, work hard for a living, and have a love for your country! Yes, I did say goodbye to many friends, but I did develop friendships that will last for a lifetime, whether they are in my life now or not! 



In Closing

People in the service make a lot of sacrifices when serving our country. The wife or husband does a PCS move at times by themselves when the family is not authorized to go. The separation can make it hard on the family in daily life and the wife or husband doing the serving misses out on things the kids do.

You might have to move every 2 or 3 years, so then you have to leave friends, get ready for another move, and make new friends while starting a new school. I remember when I was in middle school crying and saying I did not want to leave my friends.

We moved every year for the last 3 years of high school. It was rough getting through this, but when your parents are in the military that is part of life.

I feel children that grow up in the military are better educated due to seeing the world and not just reading about it.


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See You Soon, Denise

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2 thoughts on “Growing Up In The Military

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry for your loss. My dad was in the Air Force, too. After doing his time, he joined the FAA, which was his career. This career choice also caused a lot of moves. I don’t regret what I learned from him and also being brought up in a “military standards” household. I’ve noticed that I’m a lot more disciplined than others, and I think it’s because of him and his standards.

  2. Thank you for commenting Kristen! Yes, I feel the same way and our experiences go beyond what we read in history and geography books! For instance, when we lived in Germany I was very young, but still, have some vivid memories of that beautiful country! What are all the places you were stationed?

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