I’m a military brat and proud of it.
My father was in the Army for 25 years. He enlisted in 1943. I was born at Fort Monmouth, baptized at Fort Meade. I lived at Pearl Harbor and Schofield Barracks on Hawaii. When others read about the scars of war left by the Japanese attack 7 December 1941, they don’t know my story. The Japanese not only dropped bombs on Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air Field, they dropped them on the Army post north of Honolulu.
When I was living in Schofield Barracks, I knew a boy wandering in the woods who discovered a Japanese bomb dropped in the area. Thinking it was a dud, he picked it up. His hand was blown off. Unfortunately, the bomb was live, waiting eighteen years to explode.
I was born an Army brat. No, that’s not correct. In the spring of 1951, I was government issued to Sgt. Bobby D. Connor and his wife. I was their second child. My brother Michael was born in 1948 in the same hospital.
It was a good life, but not easy. Orders came every three years. My father was stationed in New Jersey, Maryland, Arizona, Hawaii and Colorado. Although my mother always wanted orders to Germany, we went to Viet Nam in 1963.
You make friends. You leave friends. You write a lot of letters hoping to stay in touch, but after a few years you no longer know where your friends are in the great wide world of military transfer.
I never realized how the military shaped my life until I filled out my first job application. What schools could I put in the space given? I had been to thirteen schools—two different elementary schools in kindergarten ending in two different high schools by the time I graduated in 1969.
Military brats are different from civilian children. They are world travelers, global citizens and many have never known a hometown.