When my father, Kingston Winget, turned 13 all he wanted to do was be a soldier. He enlisted in late 1944 but just missed World War II. Many young men really did want to get to the war before it was over. As it was he stayed in and became an officer and served in the Korean War and later three times in Vietnam.
As soon as I was born he wanted me to be a soldier and would dress me in uniforms, sometimes even Navy uniforms. Not only would I be dressed up for playing “war”, so was my younger brother, Adrian Winget, even on day trips to places of interest. This was like a second schooling for me. I never had to come to attention or call him sir, but I had grown up seeing other children that had to, and later my friend’s children. As an Army Brat, eight months after I was born in Ohio, we moved for a tour in Italy and southern Germany from 1956 to Dec 1959. I came back knowing more Italian than English, so much so that my cousin could not understand me, this also affected me in 2nd grade.
We then came back and lived in Fort Knox, KY, as well as many other states. In 1972 my dad returned from his 3rd tour of Vietnam and retired later at Fort Monroe, VA. We had lived in 13 different homes, 11 different states and countries. Between 1960 and 1972 I attended 9 different schools before 8th grade.
In the 9th grade I joined Navy Junior ROTC at Tabb High in Yorktown, VA, which is surrounded by a military community of all branches. This was a tough time wearing my Navy uniform on the bus to school, I was often heckled. Then upon entering college I went into Army ROTC where we were told to wear our uniform only to the ROTC class, but by 1976 most people did not comment, at least not out loud.
What my father did was prepare me to serve our county, as a responsibility. Frankly, when I walked out after the high school graduation ceremony I had no idea of any other job I wanted to do. Dressing up in all the gear put me way ahead of my peers, my uniforms fit better because I knew what things like belt height and scarf wear made a professional look.
I have been happily married for 31 years to Nancy who is also an Army Brat. I retired as an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I wouldn’t change a thing in the way I was raised – I will always be – an Army Brat.