April is Military Brat Month

April marks the celebration of Military Brat Month, honoring the approximately 1.2 million military brats worldwide. Despite its potentially misleading name, “Military Brat” is a term of endearment with a rich history dating back nearly a century. Originating from the British Regiment in 1921, where families traveled alongside troops and were affectionately referred to as “British Regiment Attached Travelers,” the term evolved into the acronym BRAT and later gained prominence in the United States.

History of BRAT name Courtesy Blake Stilwell or @blakestilwell

Compelling Facts about Military Children

  • There are more children than troops, 1.4 to 1
  • Military children are 2x more likely to join the military as adults than others.
  • Military children are more prone to anxiety and depression compared to their civilian counterparts.
  • Military children are resilient, adapt to change more quickly, and are engaged in their communities.
  • Military brats move an average of 10 times during their upbringing, 3 times more than civilian kids.

A military brat’s life is a blend of wonder and challenge. Frequent relocations mean constant adjustment to new environments, cultures, and social circles. They navigate unique circumstances while shouldering the responsibility of upholding their parents’ careers, often with one parent deployed at any given time.

I grew up as a military brat and later was a military spouse and while I may not have always appreciated it then, I am so grateful that I was able to experience growing up in Europe, living in several countries, being able to meet so many people from various countries over the years, to grow up speaking four languages, learning to understand the many cultures which allowed me to develop a global mindset.  As a military child discipline was part of our upbringing, we were also taught to have immense respect for our parent/parents’ jobs and what they did for our country, their dedication, their defense of our Democracy, and their service to this country.  Service was always #1.

I will always cherish the “BRAT” life and as the saying goes “Once a BRAT, always a BRAT”. There are so many great things about BRAT life, but one I really like, is that you can be anywhere in the world and if you meet another BRAT, it is like you have been friends forever.