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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always liked BRAT better than what was on my id card "DOP" dependent of a person....

Tue May 03, 08:38:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked the word brat because it meant that we would not lie down and be submissive. That we lived life to the fullest. We also had a brat school song that we sang in the 50s in france to the tune of the Marines Hymn.
From the halls of montezuma
to the shores of tripoli
we will fight our classroom battles
on the land and on the sea
We will fight for night and freedom
and to keep our desks a mess
and to proudly claim the title
of the teacher's little pests.

You have to realize we were 3rd grade at the time!!

Thu Nov 22, 01:31:00 PM PST  

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