The Unseen Warriors: Military Brats, Military Children

You didn’t volunteer, you didn’t enlist.  Like me, you may have been born to it, drafted the day you arrived. You have no battle ribbons or medals to wear.  All you have is an old set of memories worn smooth by time and travel.  A memory or two of distant family and a handful of friends scattered into the winds of time and military whims.

These are and were America’s secret warriors: the military child.  They often included their mothers and friends, though not all.  They claimed the lives of sons and  daughters of the warrior clan.  Many got sucked into the Warrior mentality.  Trained to be strong and brave, to say “yes sir,” and “yes ma’am”.

I am talking about military dependents; specifically, military kids.  The Army brats, the Navy ones; Air Force brats and Marine Corps kids.  You know who you are.  You can feel it in your heart sometimes – that siren call that consists of chopper thumps and Taps lonesome call.  The one that wakes you in the morning sometimes with the bugles of Revelry in your mind – and you walk to the window half expecting to see a flag being raised outside.

These are people you meet on the street.  Some have “served” in an official fashion; for instance, I joined the Marine Corps.  My father was an Army man.  My mother came from an Air Force brat background.  The military ultimately ruled our clan – and still does in some ways.

They never “asked for it” – but they are there: the military’s children, all grown up.  Some didn’t ‘serve’ officially.  But they were there.  They ‘served’ in their own way – whether by supporting a military parent, doing what they were told; bowing to regulation, living in foreign lands.  They may have trained with weapons, they may have learned survival techniques.  Some, like me, were trained for nuclear warfare when they were very young.  They, too, were torn from their friends and family for extended periods.  I know I was – torn again and again.

They say it makes it easier to make friends – learning over and over again, doing the same old dance, the “military shuffle”: making new friends.  But what about the old ones?  You think it doesn’t tear your heart out sometimes?  That you don’t miss them?  The ones you loved?  Going over to the apartment next door – only to find the familiar faces gone.  And sometimes you disappeared instead.

And then there were the Army programs.  I learned to parachute by the time I was ten (albeit not from a real plane).  I learned how to set up Claymore mines when I was eight.  And I was digging punji traps and smearing the stakes with feces when I was seven.

I handled my first shoulder fired rocket when I was ten.  I knew how to fire the machinegun on a Huey Cobra – and aim them using the Heads Up Display (HUD) when I was thirteen.  I was told it might be my responsibility to use them while a pilot behind me guided the machine – with me becoming a part of it and him.  This was in the thought during the Cold War overseas what would happen if the ‘balloon’ went up and our military defeated: they would rely on us U.S. kids to fill the gaps – in order to save our lives and theirs, and hopefully a few besides us.

I know what it is to want to salute the flag; to feel your legs twitch if you are sitting down and the National Anthem comes on.  I know I can’t stand to see the Flag go by in a parade without standing and saluting or holding my hand over my heart.  It’s part of that patriotism the military built in us – each and every one.  We were never given a choice – indeed, everything was very one-sided.  Despite growing up around and sometimes in civilian communities, you learned: the military was God of you and your family’s lives.  Everything depended on the long arm of the military; everything came from them – and they could take it away; eject you from the only world you knew, the one you had been born in.

These are the silent warriors – many of them suffering from military caused symptoms of their own; many well adjusted to their roles in society – but at the same time with this ‘thing’ inside of them . . . just waiting for ‘the word’, the disaster to come; constantly ‘preparing’ and in military watchfulness – whether you like it or not.

Most of us find ourselves drawn to the military.  I don’t know what the percentages are – how many of the military brats go on to serve in an official capacity as a warrior.  But I know we were trained – from birth, most of them – to defend this land, the flag – supporting and spreading the “American Way” – meaning liberty and justice for all, protecting civilians (despite themselves sometimes) – and supporting the flag.

These are America’s secret army; the wonder warriors – for we wonder about the roles we played – and what was played on us sometimes.  Sometimes I wonder: was it a military program they played overseas?  Or one played just by my dad?  Was it a conspiracy?  Or just the officers and soldiers making sure us kids would (or might) survive – and be able to fight our way out of “this thing” (a nuclear war landscape across Western Germany in my case) – how to command, live, and survive?  How to use a weapon in case we needed to escape?  And building in us a willingness to group, form, and attack – using anything we could find?

It was – and is – a strange life for a kid, growing up with the military kind.  It gives a unique perspective to some . . . an odd one, perhaps, to the civilian mind.  They often don’t understand it – how deeply it was ingrained in us, from birth on.

Child soldiers.  Mini-warriors.  Kids with death on their mind.

The military I sometimes think owes us – owes us a LOT for what they did to us, our minds – our hearts – our ways.  Many of us don’t quite ‘fit’ in civilian land – but we didn’t join, or did join and got out – and then sometimes . . . sometimes . . .

(shaking my head).

It gets confusing sometimes.

But the good thing; the best thing is that we have this resource in our land – should our nation ever need us.  Because I find it rare that in his heart a military kid turns his back on his kind – and nation.

We’re the ones you want around when it comes down to it – to that last stand of the military, or the nation’s last gasp in the event of a horrible war – the military children . . .

victims of their pasts and the military mind.


About jeffssong

JW is an adult childhood abuse survivor with DID*. He grew up in a violent family devoid of love and affection. He is a military brat and veteran. He no longer struggles with that past. In 1976 JW began writing "The Boy". It took 34 years to complete. It is currently on Kindle ( ), or if you prefer hard copy, on Amazon ( JW resides somewhere in the deep South. He is disabled and living with family. Note: Please feel free to take what you need; all is free to all. With that in mind, keep it that way to others. Thank you. We have 3 Blogs - One for our younger days, 0-10 (The Little Shop of Horrors); one for our Teen Alter and his 'friends' (also alters) with a lot of poetry; and finally "my" own, the Song of Life (current events and things)
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6 Responses to The Unseen Warriors: Military Brats, Military Children

  1. Michael says:

    With a high degree of accuracy I know if someone was in a military family.

    I have never met a man or woman who I could not tell was in the military. i expect it is the basic training that is never erased.

    Flat out people that have been in the military are easier manipulated. i used to have to watch this when I had crews. If I got tired I would just manipulate the ones from the military as it was easier.

    Convicts only differ from those in the military in that those in the military are proud of the way they are.

    Note: All generalities are false. Smile.


    • jeffssong says:

      🙂 We were certainly the “unusual Marine”. If not for our test scores and performance in the field, they wouldn’t have kept us. LOL. Wink. I was an “evil Marine” for having individuality. I was more than ready for the Marines. They, however, had their hands MORE than full when they got me. As a D.I. who quit would attest.

      A good childhood friend who joined the Navy & worked with Marines as Corpsman said I was the only person he ever knew that went through boot camp and came out . . . totally unchanged (aside from the haircut). I drove my C.O. wild. But those test scores: I ‘worked’ my buds into key positions which allowed me access to my records and saw: “Don’t get rid of this man. EVER.” (Unless I killed someone, of course – in which case they probably would have approved.) I was too good at the ‘stuff’ and worked that system like a tool to my benefits (and my buds; shitbirds all.)

      And yeah, the military are dedicated to getting the Mission (work) done. You can depend on them. Unfortunately too many people just use them and cast them aside like toilet paper. But you know who the A-holes are: the users.

      Convicts have no honor. Military does what they are told. If they are told “guard this person” they do it. Personal feelings are not allowed. Just the way it works. You are the ‘arm’ and not the ‘brain’. eg. some of the places you were. To ‘help’ is to risk everything you hold dear. So someone suffers. You are also given reasons or excuses (no matter how false). Commanders lie. But they are lied to, too.

      It’s like doing a job. You are paid to do the job. You do it as best you can.
      Even if someone is shooting at you while you do it. Kinda changes your perspectives from ‘civilian’ to what the world is really like. Because yes: there are people who want to kill you, me – us all. Would love to come over here and have it all. Minus us. The US. Personally, I’m not willing to hand over my “semi-liberty’ that easy – which is the same reason I and many of my military compatriots are keep a close eye on politics, and why we fight for guns.

      Not every military person is a mindless clone. No more than the guy laying brick at a job.

      Of course there are exceptions to everything. Don’t know if you remember the 10% “Rule” I wrote. Still holds true.


      • Michael says:

        You have been hanging with the wrong criminals if you think those in the military have honor.

        If I needed trash talk I would go to the military. If shit needs to get done I would go with the criminal. In a bar fight no need to worry with the military crowd unless you are severely outnumbered.

        There are exceptions of course. Never met anyone from the military when walking red iron. Looked at a lot of them on the ground.


      • jeffssong says:

        If I need crime or finesse I go to the criminal (or do it myself). If I need brute force and duress, I go to the military – they will get the job done.

        If I need to bind someone to my ‘law’ and my way of fighting – I go to the military. At least you can control them through obedience to regulation.

        A criminal, on the other hand, is more apt to stab you in the back, remove your money, and move on to someone else dumb enough to hire him.


  2. i adore that my birth was “inside base gates”. i see it (base gates) as the residence of the ancient & undying Spirit, of Freedom, She must have prayed for children worthy, willing, as witness to unalterable values & willingness within the sacrifice required without even expecting the benefactors to acknowledge more that briefly that Freedom is won by fathers & mothers perfectly practiced and remain ready to battle finding courage alongside the fight. This Spirit of Freedom named Liberty dream is that no boundaries limit what shines out from Her Light. Darkness presses on simply intending to extinguish Liberty’s Light.

    we brats, as youngsters learned what worthy is and we emerged willing as witness for our civilian cousins&friends, of the stakes that protect – at all cost – their rights. we MILITARY born brats usually all proud of our small part until the experience & shock, the reality of civilian culture who hear us talking then act on their thoughts that, “you sound like some old great-grandparent with lecturing and the likes of old war stories, we don’t believe there could violence here – or a news hour warning is what you sound like. forget it, there won’t be fights here “. HA, statements like that preceded the first time i instinctively snapped to attention, you know, where the back of your neck/head/spine/heels align ready to respond to what your eyes see dictating the “next move” was after coming back to America from US territories in the pacific (1971) and this brat literally laid down and kissed the tarmac because it was on top American soil. you know, usually us brats only snap to attention when we were told by dad and we “knew what, why and how that order better be followed”. The moment attention is instinctively brought on, there is recognition of a threat and the threat i perceived was complacency leading to ignorance leading to dimming Liberty’s Light leading to loss of courage to take up the fight & “boom boom boom out go the lights”. even for brats, being at attention is not a place to hang out, it is stressful and there was complacency egged on by ignorance and civilians only listening to what other complacent or deceitfully motivated people “proclaimed”. like the blind would NOT follow anybody BUT the blind. i was in a rush to be “at ease”. You already know instinctive “at ease” won’t be rushed. HA “parade rest” lasts the longest or did for me.

    eventually, born brats figure out and separate from most casual mentionings that Liberty is a Spirit & Her life requires a watch of those prepared to protect peace to the very end of each fight. we learn, finally, that Freedom never demands that all who enjoy Her acknowledge where peace comes from. we learn and accept as “sort of okay” that most others on this mainland just trust that Freedom and Liberty will always be there. They miss out really but I can’t change that they don’t know of a Spirit that gives rise to Freedoms known as Liberty.

    i am glad to see Freedom from the latitude where a life with that Spirit is precious for Liberty is spared.
    Peace, Right,On.:)


  3. I love this. if there was ever an article written on military brats this is the one of the best ones that describes my childhood best:)


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