So what exactly are military "brats"?

You may know that the word "brat" commonly refers to the children of military families. Like many of our military traditions, the term was adopted from the British Army. Whenever an officer was stationed abroad with his family, the spouse and children were assigned "BRAT" status: British Regiment Attached Traveler. Today, the term is used to denote the children, in particular.

And travel, they do! As the progeny of career military personnel, most "brats" spend much, if not all, of their childhood moving constantly from base to base, region to region, even country to country. Every few years it's a new post for one or both of their parents and a new home, new school, new set of friends and even new customs for them. It is how they serve their country...before they are even old enough to drive. Heck, many "brats" have called a half dozen military installations 'home' before they've taken the training wheels off their bikes! 

And there are a lot of these people, with their uniquely shared experience, residing among us. As reported by Brats Without Borders on the website...

In the United States of America, an estimated 5% of its citizens are military "brats":

   * 15 million adult military "brats" with at least one career parent
   * 1.5 million current military "brats" with at least one parent serving in the uniformed services         
   * 4.5 million adult "brats" whose parents served overseas in a capacity other than the uniformed services

Brats are every age, race, religion and class, but most Americans don't even know they exist, except peripherally, as silent appendages to their parents.

"I think most military children grow up with the vague feeling that they don't really come from anywhere, don't carry the markings of a specific cultural origin, and don't have a shared connection with others from the same culture. Nothing could be further from the truth."

                    Mary Edwards Wertsch, Army Brat and Author (By permission)

To quote the adult "brats" in Southern Rain:


What do y'all say when folks ask you where you're from?


The million dollar question, huh?




All over the place.


You mean, where was I born, or where did I live?


Let's see...Norfolk - Quantico - Corpus Christi - the Phillipines - Bethesda - Naples, Italy - and then I was ten!

                      Dan Gross and Navy "Brat" Lina Koutrakos, Co-creators, "Southern Rain: A New Musical" (By permission. Duh!)