Sunday, October 02, 2011

Impacts of military family life on adult relationships (survey)

The current military engagements bring a focus on military families to the forefront of public and governmental attention. The military family is immersed in the values and traditions of the military. A sense of pride and uniqueness emerges from this culture, but it may also create challenges and stressful experiences. Thousands of families live within these unique communities, and little is known about the role of such family experiences upon the development of children and their transitions into adulthood. Given the ongoing political and military obligations in the Middle East, further study of military family experiences is warranted.

In an effort to both expand and improve supportive services for military families, I am conducting a study that will explore the impacts of military family life on adult relationships. As such, I am looking for participants who are 25 years or older, with parents who have served in the following branches of the military: United States Air Force, United States Army, United States Navy, or United States Marines Corps. Your participation would be invaluable to my work. Your willingness to share your experiences of growing up in a military family will provide a much-needed perspective for policy and procedure administrators, mental health professionals, support service coordinators and more!

In addition, by agreeing to take part in the study, you will have the opportunity to be entered into a drawing for one of four $25 VISA gift cards.

If you are interested in participating please follow the link below. It will take you directly to the survey website, where more information is provided.

Survey Link

With sincere thanks,

Karena H.
Ph.D. Candidate, Counselor Education
College of William & Mary

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Introducing The Military Brats Registry Visa Platinum Card

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Military BRAT origins revealed!

During the Month of the Military Child in April, the following was posted at the 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.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Military Brats: After Burn

Ten questions with Sherry D. Ficklin, author of Military Brats: After Burn

1. What made you decide to write this particular book?

Growing up a military brat myself I was constantly surrounded by people and situations that I thought were ‘normal’. When I married and had a family of my own I realized that military brats are a completely different and unique subculture of people. They think differently, react differently, and on a whole have a vastly different childhood experience than civilian kids do. Being a young adult writer, I wanted to explore that culture, to kind of put a spotlight on how difficult it can be. The book reflects pretty honestly on the day to day life of a military brat, with all its challenges, but it also gives a good look at the kind of bonds that people form with both family and friends when they grow up in that lifestyle.

2. What is After Burn about?

After Burn is a throwback to the classic Nancy Drew type of teen mystery novels, but from a very modern point of view. It’s about a young girl who struggles with being uprooted by her Marine father, deals with the loss of her mother, explores new relationships with boys, and all while ‘investigating’ some threats being made to her father’s squadron from somewhere inside her high school.

3. Are there any more in this series?

Yes. Military Brats is a four part series, each focused on one branch of the Armed Forces. After Burn is the Marine Corps book, Book 2, Dangerous Tides, is the Navy book and is due out this April.

4. What was it like being a Military Brat for real?

It was hard sometimes, but it was an adventure sometimes too. My dad was a Marine, so we moved a lot, which at sixteen is pretty much the end of the world, but as an adult that bug hits me sometimes and I want nothing more than to pick up and go somewhere new. My dad developed MS during his time in service and was medically retired. He passed away a few years ago. These books, all of them, are in his memory.
Then of course, I married a Marine also. We have four beautiful, brat children of our own now.

5. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

I think with any fiction book it’s really all about the escape. I hope readers have a fun adventure while at the same time connecting with the characters and with their struggles. And maybe they walk away with a new respect for what these kids go through.

6. Why is there a Blue Angel on the cover of After Burn if it’s a USMC book?

Oh, I get this a lot. First, I remind people that the Marine Corps is a department of the Navy, (to which my husband snorts and replies, “Yeah, the men’s department.”) and second, because the airport here has two military planes on static display, an A-6 and a Blue Angel. While the A-6 would have been more accurate, and this is where my girlieness comes through, the blue one was just ‘prettier’. We did, however, hoist a 14 year old girl onto the wing of that plane in a prom dress and combat boots to get that shot. You can see more of the photos from that shoot in the book trailer:

7. What was the best/worst part of writing this series?

The best thing has been seeing people’s reaction to it. When I first decided to publish it, people sort of looked at me like, what? A teen book with no vampires in it? It was really hard to find someone who got me and got the work. As it turns out, my publisher is a military wife and it really struck a chord with her when she first saw it. Now when people read it, they’re like, Yeah. That’s what’s been missing in teen literature.

The worst part was some of the parts of the story that were ripped from my own experiences. Some of them were really hard to put on paper, but when it was finished, it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

8. What is your favorite quote from the book?

Actually, the first chapter heading is my favorite. It says, “Patience is a virtue, forgiveness is divine. Neither is Marine Corps policy.”

9. What are three things people may not know about you?

Well, I collect rubber ducks. It’s true. The weirder the better. My current favorite is my Zombie duck. I still have a major crush on David Bowie that I’ve had since the first time I saw ‘Labyrinth’. And every year my family and I trek from Colorado to DC to visit The Wall. (I keep a rubbing with my grandfather’s name on the board beside my desk.)

10. Anything else you’d like to add?

Yes, a big thank you to all the wonderful, hardworking people at MCAS Cherry Point and NAS Whidbey Island for tolerating me and my ‘research’, and thanks to the people down here at West Star Aviation for letting me borrow your jet. And thanks Marc, for having me here today!
And remember, whatever your political beliefs always support the men and women of our Armed Forces and the families who make their sacrifices possible.
*Thank You!*

And now, for your prize! Answer these three questions correctly and e-mail your answers to . The FIRST TWO entries received will win a Military Brats prize pack loaded with goodies from the Brats Registry and Sherry herself.

1. What shirt does Reece wear on her first day of school?
2. What is the name of the restaurant where Paul took Reece before their first date?
3. What is a TFOA report?

Good luck everyone!!

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Monday, January 17, 2011

TRICARE to Extend Dependent Coverage to Age 26

TRICARE to Extend Dependent Coverage to Age 26

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2011 – To ensure military families don’t get left out as the new national health care reform law extends parent’s health insurance to their children up to age 26, TRICARE plans to roll out its new Young Adult Program by spring and to provide an option to make coverage retroactive to Jan. 1.

The new program will allow qualified, unmarried military children up to age 26 to buy health care coverage under their parents’ TRICARE plans through age 26, defense officials announced yesterday. That’s up from the current maximum age of 21, or 23 for full-time college students whose parents provide more than half their financial support.

The fiscal 2011 National Defense Authorization Act President Barack Obama signed Jan. 7 gave the Defense Department the authority it needed to extend TRICARE coverage to young adults, TRICARE spokesman Austin Camacho explained. This ensures benefits extended under TRICARE are in line with those all American families receive under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that took effect in March.

“We’ve been working hard to make sure we could put TRICARE Young Adult on a fast track,” said Navy Rear Adm. (Dr.) Christine Hunter, who heads the TRICARE Management Activity. “Fortunately for our beneficiaries concerned about health care coverage for their adult children, the law signed by the president includes opportunities for military families to elect this new premium-based plan retroactive to Jan. 1.”

Qualified young adults who don’t have access to employer-sponsored health care coverage will be eligible to purchase it through TRICARE on a month-to-month basis, Camacho said.

Details about how much those premiums will cost under the new program still are being finalized. But because the 2011 defense authorization specifies that the rates must cover all program costs, Camacho said, premiums will be based on commercial insurance data about the costs of providing care.

Once the new program is in place, Hunter estimated that it could extend TRICARE coverage to several hundred thousand additional beneficiaries.

“The premium allows us to provide the excellent benefit to our military families while responsibly addressing the impact of health care costs on the DOD budget,” she said.

Meanwhile, the TRICARE staff has moved into overdrive to iron out the program details: determining eligibility and coverage criteria and costs; designing, testing and implementing the required software and systems changes; updating eligibility databases; and crafting education efforts, Camacho said.

Officials plan to roll out the new program in two phases, first offering a premium-based TRICARE Standard/Extra benefit, Camacho said. Then, later this year, they plan to introduce the TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Prime Remote plan, including overseas options, and the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan.

Once the program is in place, eligible young adults may submit an application and premium payment to the appropriate regional or overseas contractor for processing, Camacho said. Cost shares, deductibles and catastrophic caps will vary, based on the plan selected and the sponsor’s status.

Young adult beneficiaries will receive an enrollment card after they buy coverage, and their payment is reflected in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System, Camacho said.

The new beneficiaries may choose to pay premiums back to Jan. 1, which will entitle them to file claims for any health care costs they have accrued since that date. To do so, officials advise that they save all receipts to ease claims processing.

For adults who need health insurance coverage but no longer qualify for TRICARE coverage, officials advise exploring the Continued Heath Care Benefit Program. This premium-based program offers temporary, transitional health coverage for 18 to 36 months. Coverage must be purchased within 60 days of losing TRICARE eligibility. Information about the program is posted on the TRICARE website.

Navy Rear Adm. (Dr.) Christine S. Hunter

Related Sites:

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Friday, December 24, 2010

My Last Christmas in Germany

by Maryellen Fuller Kitchen
Scottsdale, Arizona

Whenever Christmas carols fill the air I always think of the last Christmas our family spent in Germany based with the U.S. Army at Patch Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany.

I was 13 years old and had spent more than half of my life in a foreign country. We felt deprived as military children of some things my cousins back in the U.S. took for granted such as real hamburger rolls and ice cream. They were sometimes flown in as a treat for the servicemen and their families, especially around the holidays.

We attended Sunday school every week and Christmas was always a special time. The junior department presented a nativity scene as a dramatic ending to the adult choir’s concert. I had been an angel hidden in the background the year before but this time my secret desire was to be Mary. After all, my long brown hair seemed more appropriate than my blond competitor’s. I also had a crush on Robert who was a shoo-in to portray Joseph.

As fate would have it, the night arrived and I’ll never forget how much more angelic I felt as the choir sang “O Holy Night”; I was Mary and Robert (sigh) was Joseph.

I never saw pictures taken of our Christmas scene for we soon departed Germany and they never caught up with us in the mail. However, the memory of that beautiful nativity scene has endured for years! My favorite Christmas carol has always been “O Holy Night”, too.


If you have a favorite "Growing Up Military" Christmas story, please email it from the Military Brats Registry contact page.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

“BRATS: Our Journey Home” — TV Premiere

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--One of the toughest jobs in the armed forces is to grow up military or a “Brat.” The award-winning festival favorite, “BRATS: Our Journey Home,” is a documentary that explores the social and psychological impacts of growing up in a military family. There are over 1.5 million “Brats” in the U.S., whose parent(s) currently serve in the military. An estimated 15 million Americans are adult “Brats.”

“I want this documentary to give families the opportunity to talk about their feelings and share their experiences, and help their children grow positively in a military family environment, even if part of that family experience is traumatic”

The trauma these children experience has become a growing concern for many U.S. families and healthcare workers as the current war turns almost a decade old. Filmmaker and fellow Brat, Donna Musil wants to bring this problem to the forefront. As a child who lost her own father to the Vietnam War, Musil knows too well the pain and conflict that come from constant moving, no family roots, losing a parent and finally, leaving the military life with no closure. “I want this documentary to give families the opportunity to talk about their feelings and share their experiences, and help their children grow positively in a military family environment, even if part of that family experience is traumatic,” stated Musil.

Musil started a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit group, Brats Without Borders, in 1999 to help create a sounding board and to educate the public about the sacrifices military children make. “B.R.A.T.” is a time-honored, historical reference to military children based on the acronym “British Regimental Attached Traveler.” This select group of Americans makes up over five percent of the population in the U.S. Many of these adult Brats have experienced high numbers of divorce, drug and alcohol abuse. Almost all have felt alone with their issues, never knowing that others have had similar experiences.

“BRATS: Our Journey Home” is a two-hour documentary narrated by Kris Kristofferson, and featuring General Norman Schwarzkopf, both military Brats. Discovery’s Military Channel will be airing this informative documentary during the month of December, with the North American television premiere on Friday, December 10, 2010, at 9 p.m. EST. For more details about the film go to

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