The Month of the Military Child

Hollywood, MD- April is the Month of the Military Child. It’s sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy. It’s a time to recognize and appreciate the children of service members. These children are often forced to make daily sacrifices and overcome many obstacles and challenges that go along with a military lifestyle.


The Month of the Military Child was established back in 1986 by the late former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. Many times military spouses are recognized for their sacrifice, but children should also be applauded for the struggles they face as the dependent of a service member. Between long deployments, missed holidays, missed birthdays, missed school concerts and sports games, military children prove time and time to again to be resilient as they learn to cope with an active duty parent.

There are 1.7 million dependent children who have a parent or parents who are serving the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Navy- 297,809
- Army- 911,346
- Marines- 117,359
- Air Force- 431,851

Military children are often referred to as “brats—as is a Navy brat.” While the word brat is typically a derogatory term, children of service members often wear that name with pride. They’re subjected to cross-country or oversees moves, changing schools and making new friends—all the while proving to be more adaptive than their civilian friends.

It’s unclear where the term “military brat” originated. There’s no specific determination but there are several theories of how the term was developed.

1. It could stand for British Regiment Attached Traveler. A book that was published in 1921 said the term “BRAT” was given to families who were forced to travel abroad with a solider.
2. It could date back to the 18th century in the United Kingdom. Some believe “brat” was a contraction for “barrack rat”—a name given to children who were born and lived in army barracks.
3. It was a term of endearment for children of Army officers. In 1942, it appeared in a military slang publication called “The War Dictionary.” The term was specifically addressed to the children of officers.
4. An acronym for various terms? Some believe it stands for “born raised and traveled” others say it means “born rough and tough.”

Even without a clear cut decision on where the term “military brat” originated, it’s something many children are proud to be called. They have earned their title!

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