Definitions of Military Brat?
My own personal definition is: A Military Brat is someone, who, as a child, grows up in a family where one or more parents are “career” military, and where the children move from base to base, experiencing life in several different places and possibly different countries.
Depending on when a child of the military is born and where the parent is in his career with the military, they may have a short or a long exposure to the military way of life.
Military Brats are very adaptable, make friends easily, usually love to move every 2.5 years, but never fully assimilate into the civilian world after they grow up and leave their military families.
Early Experiences Stay With You
My father was one of many soldiers drafted into the Korean War during the 1950s. He was honorably discharged, and returned to civilian life, but later decided to make the Army his career. From before the first grade through high school graduation, I lived for most part on Army posts around the U.S. and our family was stationed in Germany twice.
I must admit that castle climbing and traveling through Germany where you have Roman monuments still standing as a reminder of the Roman civilization, as well as all the many towns where famous battles were fought in the Allied effort to win World War II, really had an impact on my development as a child.
The reality is that growing up on bases and being subject to the many rules and the culture of the military is actually life changing. Many think that once they give up their I.D. card and after they are grown up and away from the life they knew, they are no longer a Military Brat.
While growing up, a child might not realize their way of life is really different from the rest of society, But as they grew older they realize more and more how different they were from civilians who generally live in one area for most of their lives.
There can be no doubt that the discipline and patriotic values instilled upon us as children can last a lifetime.
How many Military Brats are There?
There is no official “census” or accounting for how many children of career soldiers there are alive today. Estimates range from 9 million to over 12 million and perhaps as many as 16 million.
If you think about it, since 1940, we have had three generations of children born and raised in military families, with a fourth generation “in training” today. Assuming a minimum of 1 million career soldiers serving some 20 years of service, and an average of 3 children per family there could easily be 9-12 million children living today who grew up “military.”
For many Military Brats, growing up in a military family leads to serving our country. My brother went in the Air Force and my youngest sister married a career Army officer (who also grew up in the military).
I always knew military service was an option for me, but I have always wanted to learn more about what was around me and growing up in Germany gave me a lifelong appreciation of other cultures, art, museums and travel. My mother and father grew up on farms in north Alabama, and felt that my father’s career in the Army could provide a better standard of living than we would have had growing up on a farm.
I certainly have no regrets about my growing up on different bases.
Out of the Blue…
I really didn’t think that much about how different I actually was in my twenties, as I had started college and worked part-time at a printing company, beginning my career in graphic art. But my dad, mother, and two sisters continued to move around and I did miss them and being a part of their lives-discovering the new bases, traveling and exploring.
In my thirties, I realized that I was indeed very different from everyone around me-except from other Military Brats, and I wanted desperately to re-connect with others to compare notes and feelings.
In 1995 decided to try my hand at starting a website, which was brand-new concept, and I created the first version of Military Brats Online. The website back then was an early attempt to capture the unique stories and aspects of our very different culture, and bring us together by linking to alumni groups and many personal websites created by brats.
Today, Military Brats Online is an active, interactive community, and I get many comments from fellow Military Brats who for years felt they were apart from the mainstream of society-outcasts in a way.
Reconnecting With Your Heritage
The great thing about the Internet is that it is a great tool for finding “lost” friends and reconnecting with friends and making new friends, and realizing that we are not alone, and there is a whole new generation of children and young adults growing up on bases and posts here and overseas.
The United States Air Force has increased their robotic unmanned aerial vehicle training and can no longer fit into the current facilities, and therefore an entire new training facility and squadron is being created in Alamogordo, New Mexico just to help fill the demand.
The United States Air Force is adding 380 UAVs this year alone and needs pilots to fly them. Of course, these aerial vehicles are being flown by pilots that are on the ground in Little Rooms looking at computer screens and displays.
Have You Assessed Your New Found Video Gaming Skills Lately?
Maybe you might apply to become a Air Force UAV pilot, where you will be controlling an unmanned aerial vehicle in the battlespace against our enemies. This would take your video gaming skills to a whole new level. And you get paid for playing, and you’d be expected to win; Every Time! Are you good enough to go for it?
10% of All Video Gamers Are Addicted; What is the Percentage in Gaming Communities?
Well, maybe you are addicted to computer-video-games and if you are, maybe you should be getting paid for it by working for the United States Air Force. Believe it or not your country needs your skills, and you would be helping the world getting rid of pirates and terrorists.
Gaming Gone Wild – When Simulators Get Too Real
Of course, things get pretty interesting when simulators and video-computer-games go from having fun, to real life. There are real enemy combatants on the other side of that video-screen that you will be targeting and destroying. Not everybody can handle that, when it is in real life. Can You?
Members of Gaming Communities Are The Best Video Game Designers; Tap Into Innovation
You are probably asking who is writing all this new software for all these UAVs, believe it or not many of the top programmers are also part of gaming communities and were once top computer gaming players themselves once.
It’s a whole new world out there, and maybe it’s time you got your piece of it. Please consider all this.
Now then, even though I am an advocate for research technology, I don’t know if I believe that everything in our society, and all the decisions we make at every level, in every business, every agency, and even in our academic and military institutions ought to be done by an artificially intelligent computer rather than a human.
Whereas it is true that humans make mistakes, I would submit to you that computers can also, especially because they were programmed by a human, and because things change and there are different future parameters than there were at the time the software or algorithms were written. Let’s go ahead and talk about this for second shall we?
Not long ago, I read an interesting paper by David V. Lamm from the Naval Postgraduate School “Contracting as a Science” and he discussed amongst many other things the question; “Why a Contracting Science?” He suggests that there are many ways to tackle the challenge of creating decision-making software for the military when determining which weapon system acquisitions to make, and that a decision tree could be created to pick the winners of the defense contractor bidders on every single contract – and do so more efficiently with a guarantee of no corruption, mistakes, and fewer challenges or protests of the winning bidder, as such things take time, delay projects, and cause political firestorms.
Interestingly enough, I’ve always been one who believes that in the future the eRepublic will be how our government is run. That we will have decision-making artificially intelligent computers managing our government, military, and academic institutions – the reason I believe this is because when a human being is given too many parameters, their ability to make the best decision starts to fall down. For an artificial intelligent computer, often the opposite is true, the more parameters given help it make the best statistical choice.
Perhaps a good example of this was when Watson, IBM’s supercomputer beat the very best human Jeopardy players, and each time it gave its own best guess statistically of the prospects of that answer being correct. If you added more parameters, the statistical chance of it being right go up dramatically, as in 99.999%.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our government made all the right decisions? What if our military choices in the acquisitions it made for its weapons systems were always the best choice, to tackle any future adversary.
If that were so, theoretically we could do more with less, and save the difference, and save the taxpayer a boatload of money. And in the process, all Americans would be safer from any enemies foreign or domestic. In any case, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.