Military Children

Military BRAT…do you know the true meaning?

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

April is the month of the military child.  So many of our children are referred to as a Military BRAT, I actually never knew what the acronym stood for until this morning. 

But to honor the month, I want to share a story … one that very few people know. This story is from Michael M. Dunn

When I was President of the National Defense University (NDU), I frequently bragged about the NDU library, calling it the “best library in the world.”  I had reason to … as, before I took over, it had won an award as the best library in government.  One night, at a social event at my home, I asserted the above praise, and my dear wife responded:  “If your library is so great, ask them to find the origin of the term ‘Military Brat.’  I think the term is an acronym.”

 [Many of you may know that the term Brat is a common reference to children of military members.  It is a term of endearment – referring to a group who endure hardships, frequently move, change schools, leave behind friends, put up with frequent deployments, long absences of their parent(s), and (sometimes) inadequate government housing.]

The NDU library came through.  A researcher there found a book written in 1921 which described the origins of the term.  It came, like many of our military traditions, from the British Army.  It seems that when a member of the British Army was assigned abroad and could take his family (mostly in India), the family went with the member in an Admin status entitled:  BRAT status.  It stands for:  British Regiment Attached Traveler.  Over the years, it was altered to refer only to the children of the military member (the wives of the British Army [who were all males] objected to the term referring to them).  And the term not only stuck, but in many cases was adopted world-wide. 

 I can’t emphasize too much the support role of families to our military.  They move all over the world.  Continuity of education, friendships … and even living conditions are often lacking.  The success of the military is dependent upon the safety and support of their family members.