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NEWS | April 30, 2022

From military child to military service member

By Saska Ball U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne)

Since 1986, April has been designated as “Month of the Military Child” as a way to recognize and thank the children of Service Members and Veterans.

Many “military brats” often face challenges such as frequent moves, separations due to one parent or more being away to participate in extended training, exercises, and even deployments. Sometimes, birthdays are missed, graduations aren’t attended, and other life’s milestones are missed entirely. These military children also grew up with an inside look as to what service to country actually means beyond the family hardships.

They grow up proud to walk in their parent’s boots.

“I actually was heartbroken that I wouldn't be able to carry on the family tradition,” said Sgt. 1st Class Antoinette Walker. Or so she thought at first.

Walker, herself, is a military brat who comes from a family with a long history of service. Her father was a Special Forces Soldier who served in Vietnam and her great-grandmothers both served during World War I; one served in the Army Reserve and the other with the Army Nurse Corps.

Initially, Walker tried to join the military while attending college, but couldn’t. She tried again in 2004 but was told she was over the age limit. Then, in 2010, her luck changed.

“I received a call from a recruiter and he asked me if I wanted to join,” Walker said. “I told him I was too old and he told me that they raised the age to 42, I was 40 at the time, and now here I am—12 years later, still enjoying this amazing opportunity to be of service to this Nation.”

Walker once was the child to a service member, now she’s the service member and also the proud parent to another military child. Her daughter, Samantha, is currently in the Junior ROTC program and hopes to continue in her own mother’s footsteps upon graduation.

For resources to support military children, please visit these websites:

https://www.defense.gov/Spotlights/Month-of-the-Military-Child/

https://www.militaryonesource.mil/leaders-service-providers/children-youth-and-teens/month-of-the-military-child-toolkit/