The Good Years...
I grew up in the military from what I can see now as the "good" years ('77-'95). When I turned 23 my ID card expired and that was that. All I had ever known was the support system of the military. In a way it was like living in a small town. Even though we moved a lot, we ended up moving with the same group of people. So in a crazy way, there was some stability. My dad was never gone for more than 3 weeks until Desert Storm which by then I was graduating from high school.
When I compare my experience to what the Army kids are going through now, I really feel for them. Growing up we had to deal with Korea for a year, but there wasn't imminent danger. Although my father never went because we did 2 tours in Germany. Also, I know more people that live outside the base than in. I lived in base housing until I was 20 years old. There wasn't any danger, went to the DYA for sports, and the military hospital when I was sick. I never ever thought about health insurance and not being able to be seen.
When Desert Storm started I was in Germany. That is probably the closest experience that I can relate to with what is going on now but of course at a much smaller scale. I remember we had guards at fixed checkpoints every 2 blocks. My dad missed my prom but came back in time to see me graduate. I had to teach myself to drive with a stickshift and had to say goodbye to my boyfriend whom went to the war. It was a confusing time but for a short period of time.
I really don't have too many ties anymore with the military. I did meet my husband through the Army, at the O' Club, but we didn't get married until he got out. I wanted more stability in my life, now I feel restless. I have been living in the same place for the last 6 years and ready for a change!