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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!

kerette kerette 36-40, F 1 Response Apr 19, 2008

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I was Army dependent until I was 23 also. FYI: I think you need to be in college to get the extension through 23. I had to provide transcripts or something. My dad was never deployed to war either, so I was very lucky. I know now that I felt very secure on post, compared to how I feel off base now. Even with tanks and firearms around, I felt they were there to protect me. Now I feel more threatened without guards around. Like, there's less incentive for people to behave and be courteous in the civilian world. I miss those days, but I'm too chicken to enlist myself.