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You Know You Are A Military Brat When…..

Let me first mention that this list is all over the web…..each individualized……Mine is a collection of many generations of the list (those applicable to me are in red) ….

So on with You Know You Are A Military Brat When You….

. . . actually like the clothes at the BX and don’t mind that 100 other people are wearing the same thing.

. . . know that all your former very best friends are as long gone as your last move.

. . . always wish you were back at the last place you were stationed even 20 years later.

. . . answer the question “where are you from” with “I’m kinda from all over the place.”

. . . are able to imitate others’ speech patterns easily.

. . . are amazed at people who have lived somewhere more than three years.—-Still shocks me even though I have managed to be in the same place for more than that now! (still bothers me and still waiting to move)

. . . are amazed at people who have never left their hometown.

. . . are amazed at people who have who have never seen foreign currency.

. . . are amazed at people who think Frankfurt is a some kind of hotdog.

. . . are asked “where did you learn to speak English so well”.

. . . are asked is it hard always moving around when you don’t know anything different.

. . . are brought to tears by military music.

. . . are going to a grocery store but call it a commissary.

. . . are initially confused when asked where you are from, but quickly respond everywhere.

. . . ask what they mean when someone asks where you are from.

. . . when you come back to the states you actually enjoy watching commercials

. . . at age 22 are trying to find someone in the military to marry so you can get a new I.D. card.—-NOT really BUT the feeling is definitely there!

. . . avoid visiting the doctor because you don’t trust civilian hospitals.

. . . bagged groceries at the commissary on payday.

. . . bought US savings stamps.

. . . can ask for a beer in most European languages.

. . . can bounce a quarter off your bedsheets and have hospital corner on your bed.

. . . can call up actual memories of a country while you’re in geography class.

. . . can identify ranks and duty stations by the stickers on a car’s bumper.—for the most part.

. . . cannot speak the language of the country in which you were born.

. . . can recite all of the AFRTS commercials along with the television.

. . . can remember ordering a Big Mac, fries, and a beer.  At least was there when it happened

. . . can still convert foreign currency in your head.

. . . can talk to anyone and everyone from anywhere and everywhere.

. . . can’t convince a stateside cousin that your Japanese kimono doll REALLY came from Japan.

. . . can’t drink Budweiser without being coerced.

. . . used to drink in bars that are older than the United States. Maybe not drank but BEEN IN!!

. . . have drunk water from Roman aquaducts.

. . . conceal your father’s rank because once people find out he has stars they’ll never treat you the same.—-okay Dad’s not a General but still as an higher ranking officer’s daughter—I did hide his rank.

. . . craved to have a class six ration card.

. . . didn’t save things so you wouldn’t go over the weight allowance of the next move.

. . . didn’t see a TV till you were almost a teenager.

. . . do not understand why many of your friends are afraid to be in an airplane.

. . . don’t believe it when someone tells you they never left their hometown.

. . . don’t feel quite right seeing military personnel younger than you.

. . . don’t really know how to answer the question “what is your home town”.

. . . don’t remember the names of your childhood friends.

. . . draw stares when you say that you and Hemingway had drinks in the same places.

. . . draw a quick map of the world when someone asks you where you are from.

. . . have crossed the Atlantic or Pacific an odd number of times.

. . . were welcomed to a country by an American kid who asked if you knew how to say @#$%!* in the local language.

. . . enjoy seeing guys in fatigues on city streets.

. . . ever got sick eating chocolate field rations.

. . . remember that every room you’ve ever had was stark white and you couldn’t put nail holes in the walls.

. . . find that everyone complains about your name being the most scratched out in their address book.

. . . find that everywhere you go, you think you see someone you went to school with.

. . . expect someone else to do the housework but can’t afford it.

. . . feared turning 21 because they would take your ID card away.—22 for me because of grad school.

. . . feel like you should be visiting the states rather than living in them.

. . . feel more at home on a military base than in town even though you’ve been a civilian for 26 years.— NOT yet and hopefully never but still!!

. . . feel more comfortable living near a military base and get bummed-out when a base gets closed.

. . . felt like a part of history that was happening around you.

. . . find that you can easily amuse yourself for hours at airports, train or bus stations.

. . . find yourself with friends throughout the world.

. . . get frustrated when others talk about going to their hometown to see old friends, teachers, etc.

. . . get nostalgic when seeing O.D. Green.

. . . get the itch to move every 3-4 years and forever feel like the outsider in the civilian world.

. . . give someone a break because they are in the military.

. . . go into culture shock upon returning to the States.

. . . got beer from the Limonade man at the kiosk.

. . . got dressed up and played pranks at Fasching.

. . . got grounded or restricted to quarters or put on KP duty.

. . . got in trouble on the train to Berlin for taking a picture.

. . . graduated from a high school you only attended for a year.—2 years and never quite felt at home there. 

. . . had a dad who brought you a used SAM to play with.

. . . had a father who was always telling you to “police the area”.

. . . had a pup-tent in your yard until your parents found out what was going on in there.

. . . had a supply of K-Rations that you traded with your friends.

. . . had Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in a mess halls.

. . . had your introductory speech prepared and memorized for your first day at a new school.

. . . had your school lunches planned and served by people wearing sergeant or private stripes.

. . . had a job delivering the Stars and Stripes.

. . . think it was normal to have the newspaper editorial staff’s names include their military ranks.

. . . have a collection of bunch of beer caps from everywhere.

. . . have a very best lifelong friend who you have known for less than a few years.

. . . have been asked just where in NY Apo is.

. . . have been hit on at the age of 13 by men in uniform. Sorta!

. . . have driven four hours to Munich for the taste of a poorly done Big Mac.

. . . have to explain that being born in Germany does not make you German.

. . . have to explain why your SSN is from an APO and your home of record and state of residence don’t match.

. . . have forgotten how to speak more languages than most people ever learn.

. . . have USAA as your insurance company.

. . . haven’t seen your best friend since the last time Dad was transferred.—until you were in college

. . . hear the sound of freedom when military aircraft fly by, while civilians complain about the noise.

. . . know exactly how horrible AFN commercials are.

. . . inexplicably have the urge to move to a new place every year for no reason at all.

. . . keep bumping into people all over the world who know friends that you haven’t seen in years.

. . . kept evac-backpacks by the front door with clothing and passports in case “IT” happened.

. . . knew the rank and name of the kid next door’s father before meeting the kid next door.

. . . know how great it is to be able to return to base and your little slice of America.

. . . know how to pack a footlocker.

. . . know kilometers better than miles and Celsius better than Fahrenheit.—which still amazes people!

. . . know that Radio Luxembourg was the number one way to keep up with the latest rock and roll hits.

. . . know the words and tune to military march songs.

. . . have an irresistable attraction men in uniform and the buzz cuts

. . . know what “the land of the big PX is.”

. . . know what a jump tower is and after a few beers – thought it made good sense to climb one.

. . . know what Ami geh heim or knittle in die buxe means.

. . . know what the “land of the round door knobs is”.

. . . know what the relative value of a pfenning, won or yen is compared to the U.S. Dollar.

. . . knowing about a variety of cultures.

. . . left school frequently for bomb scares.

. . . like institutional-style cooking and enjoyed going to the Mess Hall.

. . . liked going shopping with mom for an hour and a half drive because the BIG PX sold Canoe.

. . . listened to Armed Forces and VOA radio for the 1st 10 years of your life.

. . . made better grades in geography because you’d been to the places you were studying.

. . . know what an MRE is

. . . meet another military brat sometime somewhere and are instantly bonded.

. . . miss shopping at AAFES or the PX.

. . . had Scout camping equipment that had US instead of BSA stamped on it.

. . . have siblings who were born in various foreign lands.

. . . munched hot brotchen & gummies on the way to school.

. . . name schools in three countries on two continents when asked what high school you attended.

. . . never quite finished decorating your place because you knew you’d be moving soon.

. . . noticed Tom Cruise in uniform, outside with no hat,and having a non-regulation haircut in Top Gun.

. . . painted a picture on the Berlin Wall before it fell.

. . . panic when you can’t find your ID or passport.

. . . played American Football at the schwim bad to impress the German girls.

. . . polished your fathers boots and brass for his upcoming inspection.—-Or Just for Fun!!

. . . put your hand over your heart at 5 p.m. knowing the flag was coming down. . . somewhere.

. . . realize that the latest fashion in the states is not the same clothes you bought on base.

. . . refer to being in the U.S. as in the world.

. . . remember following your favorite film as it made the rounds on the AAFES theater circuit.

. . . remember being able to watch the Super Bowl or World Series live on TV at 2 am.

. . . remember Chris Noel’s dedication show on Armed Forces radio during the Vietnam war.

. . . remember hanging out at the AYA.

. . . remember the Saturday afternoon tank rides at Fort Hood.

. . . don’t understand why your adult friends think videos of B52s taking off look spooky.

. . . say think OPSEC to your friend so they will keep it secure then realize it won’t make sense to them.

. . . start a major portion of your conversations with “when I was in. . .

. . . feel the need to stand up and recite the national anthem at the start of movies.

. . . still do yard detail!

. . . still get the urge to pack up and move about every 22 months.

. . . still look for you ID card after you’ve grown up.

. . . stopped saying “I used to live in Japan” because people kept asking you if you spoke Chinese.

. . . talk to someone with an accent and pick it up yourself.

. . . tell everyone you are from a town that you haven’t lived in since you were 4 years old.—more like two years old

. . . find that the oldest friend you have is from your senior year of high school.

. . . know that the term “combat loaded” refers to how the movers load the van.

. . . think locals have such a limited perspective.

. . . think of your childhood neighbors fathers and mothers by their rank.

. . . think the US seems like a foreign country.

. . . think you see old classmates on every corner, whether you are in Brussels, Bangkok, or Boise.

. . . thought all doctors issued all purpose capsules for every ache and pain.

. . . thought all pens had “US Government” printed on them.

. . . thought all aspirin came in 5,000 count bottles.

. . . thought everyone slept under green or blue wool blankets that had “US” on them.

. . . thought that a firing range made a great playground.

. . . thought that the Quartermaster was the real Santa Claus.

. . . thought vacations meant going stateside to visit the grandparents.

. . . told civilian friends stateside where you lived and they complimented your English.

. . . try to remember to drive on the right side of the road.

. . . try to take out your ID card when you enter a grocery store.

. . . use words like “hit the deck”, “visit the head” and “pogey bait”.

. . . thought it was normal to ride your bike over to the nuclear weapon storage area part of the base.

. . . used the federal warnings on your I.D. card to convince your cousins that you were a military agent. I dream of it!!

. . . waited every Saturday at noon for the alert sirens to go off.

. . . went into hysterics when your grandparents thought of selling their house.

. . . went out and found everybody leaving on Maneuvers.

. . . went to school in a converted POW camp.

. . . were born in an US occupied country and moved every 3 years.

. . . were more interested in your new friend’s father’s rank than what color your friend was.

. . . were pleased to find upon returning stateside that the locals spoke American.

. . . still think of yourself as a yeoman after 20 years as a secretary.

. . . find that battleship gray makes you feel warm and fuzzy.

. . . can shine your military kid’s brass better then he can.

. . . come to the US, turn on the T.V. and are surprised that the shows are in English.

. . . see a homeless person and somehow feel spiritually related

. . . find that your civilian boss has to ask you more than once not to say “Yes, sir” and “No, sir”.

. . . woke up to F-4’s roaring overhead.—okay not F-4s but definitely woke up to planes flying and artillery being fired.

. . . had classes interrupted by the roar of an entire wing of jets taking off in pairs

. . . wonder if dad signed a hand receipt when you were born.

. . . wondered who your new best friend would be as you enroll in yet another school.

. . . make things up about where you are from to avoid the headaches of telling the whole long story. NEVER!!

. . . are confused when your fiancée talks about watching trees grow large in front of the house.

. . . can recite which aircraft were in service in which era because you watched them fly overhead.

. . . graduated from 12th grade and it was your 13th school. Actually it was my 8th school.

. . . had your own punch card at the local Class VI store since you were 16.

. . . have climbed down to Survival Beach and back up.

. . . used Script or MPC’s instead of green backs.

. . . went on week-long field trips to England, France and Italy.—England for me—actually a Girl Scout Trip

. . . had been to every Gasthaus in Germany, both East and West before you were 18.

. . . your SSN, home of record, state of residence, and place of birth are far from matching.

. . . know transfer meant pack your toys and say see ya later.

. . . were in your late teens before you realized flashlight batteries came in any color but OD.

. . . and your friends played army in an abandoned concentration camp.

. . . attend high school reunions in a different town each time and you never attended school in any of the towns.

. . have ever stood still in complete reverence of the flag during our anthem and wondered why your civilian-grown friends didn’t do the same.

. . . used to think that all movie theaters were free.

. . . used to think that everyone moved every three years, and kids that didn’t must’ve had parents with really strange jobs.

. . . make fast friends easily but find that goodbyes never come any easier.

. . . have a strange urge to say thank-you every time you see a man in uniform.

. . . feel more at home on a military base than anywhere else, even if you’ve never been to that base before.

. . . have ever lived in a house that resembles a very large sugar cube

. . . are amazed when you see civilian neighborhoods and all the houses are (gasp) different.

. . . fight the urge to save boxes to everything because you might have to move!!

. . . made friends by lunchtime at every new school so you didn’t have to sit alone.

. . . made some of the best friends you’ll ever have, even if you could only be best friends for 11 months.

. . . went to 7 different schools in 6 years.

. . . had M.P.’s at every corner in your school because of a bomb threat.

….befriended someone instantly when you found out that both of your fathers were stationed at the same military base at one point in time

…know your father’s social security number.

…you were named after an airplane because your father is a pilot

…are tired of being told you can’t be the president because you weren’t born in the States.

…when your grew up over seas and when you came back to the states you didn’t understand what taxes or pennies were.

…ever had landing exercises done on the beach behind your elementary school, and went up to ask for MRE’s.

…was watching G.I. Jane with friends and they stoped the movie because they got tired of you saying “I’ve been there.”

…didn’t realize that there was a charge for going to the hospital until you changed to your work’s HMO.

…moved near the airport because the sound of planes taking off and landing helps you sleep.

…ever had your dad wish you happy birthday on the nightly news.

…all your clocks are set to the 24 hr clock even though your dad’s been retired for 10 years.—okay a little less time than that BUT—still 24 hr clock

…your first passport picture was taken prior to you being 6 months old.

…smile when you see yellow “Support our Troops” ribbons

…ever got tired of kids asking you to say cuss words in another language

…charmed four star generals by the time you were ten

…ever got in trouble in a foreign country and threatened to call the government

…called the government and were let off with a “warning”

…if you were ever known as “The Colonel’s kid”

…could carry on a better conversation with a general than with a kid

…know how to properly salute

…grew up watching, appreciating, and understanding M*A*S*H

…felt safer in a foreign country than you do here in the States

…were asked to say certain words in a foreign country because they liked your American accent

…had the coolest parents around because they sent you to school with “Army food”

…don’t say cafeteria; you say chow hall or mess hall.

…ever used your Dad’s rank as leverage to get out of trouble with the base MPs


One Response

  1. […] Brat turned College student with little time on her hands. Her Foxworthy-esque post on “You Know You’re a Military Brat When” made me laugh, because I’m an army brat and I found so many things where I said, […]

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