Jensina describes her memories and the things that made her life that of a Miltary Brat, in Story of an Army Brat.
I barely know where to begin.
My father, Master Sergeant Gene Noel Anderson, enlisted in the US Army in 1973. I wasn’t born until 1976. He recently retired in 1997 so as you can see he was in the Army my entire life. Being an Army brat is the only thing I know how to be and the only thing that I am really good at.
Some of the other people that have posted stories here have already expressed the feelings that I am about express as well but, I am glad to know that I am not the only one who feels this way.
One thing is that I don’t have a place to call home.
I was born in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky in 1976. My sister was born two years before me in the same hospital. We transferred to California when I was 1 year old and stayed there until I was 3. My next younger sister was then born in California. We moved to Oregon so that while my Dad was gone to Korea for a year my Mom would have help from his family raising us kids.
When Dad finally returned we moved to Fort Benning, Georgia. This is where my memories really begin. My dad became a Drill Instructor and we never saw him for five years while we lived there. It was really tough. I started school there and attended Dexter Elementary School until the second grade.
Then we moved to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina where I went to fourth, fifth and sixth grade. I don’t want to tell too much or I could write a book. From there we moved to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. My dad worked in Schofield but, we lived on Aliamanu Military Reservation closer to the airport.
Hawaii, I guess, is where I mostly consider home because I attended Aliamanu Intermediate and Radford High School (for only three years). This is where I consider I spent the most important years of my life. Life was very hard but, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I then graduated on the mainland (Oregon) from high school. Then I did what I had dreamed about since I was five years old. I enlisted in the Navy.
The Navy wasn’t my choice until very recently when I realized that I didn’t like the Army because of the things I had gone through with my dad. I married in 1995 to another Navy member and in December 1996 my military career stopped short due to a medical condition with my ankle. Now I am a military wife and in a position that my mother was in for so many years except subtract the kids.
My dad retired this past May of 1997. His speech was so wonderful for his retirement ceremony. I just want to share one part. My father was very emotional because military life was all we had ever known and now it was going to end. It is so very scary to become a civilian.
I have never been a civilian and won’t be one for a little while because my husband is still active duty. It scares me to death. My Mom and Dad and my younger sisters are scared too.
My Dad said in his speech that when we add up how many years our family has served on active duty in the Armed Forces that it totals over a century. Like I said, what is a civilian? It must be such a different way of life.
I thank my Dad everyday now for raising me as a military brat. Of course at the time I didn’t like it but, now that I am a little older and out of the house I realize how many skills and responsibilities I was taught by being an Army brat. It makes me cry tears of joy now that I see that I am not alone in the experiences I had growing up as a military brat.
Thank you all for sharing your stories. Here is my small contribution.