BRATS: Our Journey Home A Donna Musil Film Featuring Narration and Music by Kris Kristofferson
UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show Operation Military Brat Order the film
Life as a BRAT

Life on Base

The military is not just an organization. It is a culture, a lifestyle... and a world of contradictions. Soldiers fight for democracy, while their families live a near-socialistic, authoritarian existence. They teach absolute loyalty in a world that thrives on compromise... the nobility of service in a "me-oriented" society... and silent stoicism in a life filled with loss. These things are necessary to fulfill the Military Mission, but how do they affect the children?

Life on Base
Photo Courtesy of the Department of Defense and the United States Air Force

Here are a few excerpts about life on base from BRATS:

  • "My favorite thing about base life was the sheer number of kids that would be available to play at any given time." - Laird Knight

  • "You really did feel a sense of community. Without knowing everybody individually, you knew each other. You had a bond." - Debra Hollis

  • "If you didn't stop at five o'clock when they lowered the flag, I think they would've shot you. I mean... it was out of respect, don't get me wrong, and I think ... it's a great tradition... but everybody stopped. I mean, it was common sense" - Frederic Brown

  • "If you messed up, your father got called in, your father got chewed out, something could go into your father's file and your father could be prevented from being promoted, and overseas, if you got three reports because of something major, your whole family got shipped back stateside." - George Junne

  • "Probably the hardest thing that I had to deal with in high school was the fraternization rules with the military. And the rule was just cut and dried. Officers did not mingle with enlisted people." - Bill McLuskie

  • "When I was a military dependent, I could see that my father's work had purpose, it was very clear... and so in my work and whatever I've done, it has to have a ring of importance, it has to have value. I can't be involved in anything that's frivolous. There's an urgency I feel to do something that's worthwhile." - Michelle Green

The first documentary about growing up military.