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I wouldn't trade it. Got to live in some interesting places -- England, Panama Canal Zone, the Bay Area, D.C. area. I retained the peripatetic way of life into adulthood, and get bored when I stay in one place too long.
As far as being screwed up by it -- no -- but I wasn't raised in the "military ethos." My father was a lawyer in the Air Force JAG corps, which was a separate shop that largely dispensed with the military chickenshit, and while he took pride in wearing the uniform, he wasn't gung ho.
Now, how messed up was I by Marine recruit training? That's a good question. Actually, I think that was a positive experience also, as it taught me not to screw up and abdicate control of my life because there are any number of morons out there -- drill instructors and the like -- who will happily screw it up for you.
Eric, I grew up as a military brat. This is because my father had served in the U.S. Army. It all started when he was drafted to fight in Vietnam back in October of 1968 from which his tour of duty was from 1969 to 1970. Then when my father returned from Vietnam, he decided to make the military a career. Soon after his short assignment at Fort Sill, Ok. he was sent to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii in which I would be born ( on January 25, 1973) at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. As for the following Army post I grew up on were Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Wildflecken, Germany (West), Fort Steward, Georgia; and Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Then some of the positives of my experience growing up military are having to travel to many places and meeting lots of people. Especially, when I was in Germany. There I had the chance to learn the German language and eat German food (chocolate, Bratwurst, Prom Frites). In addition, I was able to take a school field trip to a zoo, museum, a train ride, and a boat ride on the Rhine river. Also, the other advantages of being brought up as a military brat is that you are in a racially integrated housing area because the military is divided by RANK (between officer and enlisted). Housing, schooling, health and dental care is fully paid for by Uncle Sam. Plus, a military post/base it is generally a safe place to be (you had to have a military I.D. card to get on post at the gate). In other words the military is a self-contained community onto itself from civilian society stateside and a piece of Americana abroad.
However, the downside to growing up in a military environment is the frequent moving around. It is not usual for someone to move around every 2,3, or 4 yrs. And neither you nor your parents can't control where, when, or how long you'll stay at any given place. You'll have no place to truly call a hometown. I've experience a lot of loss of friends growing up. Thus it was very difficult if not nearly impossible to form any close, deep relationships with anyone outside your immediate family. Also, the older you got the harder it was to move and adapt to a new social environment. Particularly, during the middle school and high school years, in which you had to start dealing with established social cliques. Not to mention I went through a great deal of loneliness and depression. So I found myself on the "outside" with very few friends and was in fact labeled "the most shy" by my high school senior class. I just felt as if my mind was on a different wavelength than my fellow teenage peers. So I would often be in the school library reading books and magazines on geography and military weaponry. Also, I would spend time drawing detailed pictures of military aircraft, futuristic cities, spaceships, buildings, etc.
But as far as being screwed up by it, I was not and neither was I raised in the "military ethos". There were some things I took away from the military brat experience and into adulthood. First, it was to always BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Because when you are moving around and trying to "fit in" people are going to either like you or they won't. You ultimately have to live with yourself. Second, I learned to be open-minded. Being in an military environment you are exposed to many different people and cultures. Because of this you learn not to judge others by stereotypes, race/color, culture, nationality, etc. But by their character. Then finally, I have gained I great deal of interest in world history, geography, politics, and current events. I think this makes military brats like me stand out in a good way is because most Americans tend to limit their interest/knowledge to local issues (neighborhood, town, or city) and as Winston said in his Happier Abroad E-book they lack intellectual curiosity/novelty nor are they as well traveled (outside the U.S.).
Hey man, thanks for your response. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I was kind of mulling it over and ingesting it myself. Yeah - you have some good points. I can relate to most all of what you say. I think it's given me great experiences in my life for sure and my share of problems. I think brats are complex people.
I've speculated a lot that it's led to me being less expressive, possibly having a harder time with emotional expression; I think that may be true. My Dad did the best he could for us. I have been a spoiled little brat growing up always blaming him; seeing what I don't have & just being ungrateful first and foremost.
I also have a tendency to catastrophize and blow things up; I think the LaimSTREAM media has something to do with this - insert MARXIST attempts to make you attack your family, here.
I was duped by this and took the bait. Anyways, I think growing up military affects your stature, beliefs...how you look even or hold yourself. People always think I'm in the military and I'm not- I could never escape that, that's who I am.
I think it's also made me really assertive - sometimes too assertive & confident. I can get myself into trouble. I think it's either contributed to me being really crazy, or either interesting or strong.
-"Virescit vulnere virtus"
I was a diplomatic brat, and to make things even more interesting my parents are from the same race but 2 different cultures and continents, because my Dad married my Mum while he was on a posting. Once the kids came along, home was always the same place in Canada, but we bounced back and forth between there and 5 European postings, and I went to 10 different schools. It made me and my siblings very unique people, but very similar to others like us. The people I get along with best are other diplomatic and to a lesser extent military brats. It doesn't matter where they are from, if they grew up like I did, we connect almost instantly. I get along far better with foreign diplomatic kids than I do with the average clueless Canadian.
I also connected very well with the Filipina maids my parent hired abroad. I have happy memories of going to Filipino festivals with them in Europe.
I still remain confused by most peoples opinions of what diplomats are though. My Dad retired years ago, but even now when I discuss my life with other Canadians they almost always give the same strange response. This has been happening ever since I got out of the private boarding school and started working and dealing with the average public, while my parents were still abroad. I would tell people that my Dad was the Canadian Ambassador to wherever, and they would almost always assume that meant I was not Canadian, but the nationality of the country my parents were currently posted to! When he was posted to Denmark, people said oh so you're Danish, and when he was posted to then Czechoslovakia, then I must be Czech and/or Slovak. It still astonishes me how they get the represented and host countries confused.
Anyways, I think it did mess me up in some ways, because I feel out of place pretty much everywhere. I'm full Canadian by birth but not by behaviour or thinking.
My Mum was Canadian when I was born, but only by marriage. So I tell people I'm half Canadian and half my Mums birth nationality, but since I grew up in so many places who knows where I belong or fit in the best. I do feel the most at home in Canada, but not with Canadians, since most of them really disappoint me with their general ignorance, poor taste, low class, bad appearance and lack of simple common sense.
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