The Brat Story

I’m working on a project to create “awareness” for the service and sacrifices of Military Kids, “Military Brats,” to our nation. Pat Conroy (“The Great Santini,” and a Brat himself) remarked, “…military brats, my lost tribe, spent their entire youth in the service to this country, and no one even knew we were there.” He then goes on to say, “Our greatest tragedy is that we don’t know who we are.” And finally he observes, “We’d never stopped to honor ourselves, out loud, for our understanding service to America.”

These three observations are essentially my inspiration and motivation for the “BratPin” – a way to finally recognize and honor these kids. I tried for almost 4 years to have the Congress recognize Military Brats to no avail. (Ref: HR 5333: Children of Military Service Members Commemorative Lapel Pin Act, HRs 1014 and 1889 (same title)). Then last summer I decided to “go it alone.”

Since introducing the “BratPin” concept in October 2013, I have sold over $16,000 in BratPin products. The only marketing I have done is through Facebook.


Typical of the feedback I have is received is this note from last December.

“Thank you so much for designing these. I am an Army Brat and proud to be one. I miss the life and yes would do it again in a heartbeat. I bought 3 of the pendants on chains. One for my sister, brother and myself. I wish they were alive to see them. They would have been so proud. I will wear mine with pride and place theirs on their graves. I think I will have found the closure I was searching for. Again, I thank you.”

I invite you to have a look at all the comments on my web site to gain an even greater appreciation for this initiative. They are so heartwarming…

So, I am writing today to garner interest in telling “our” story – the story of the “Military Brat.” In my generation (I am 67) we moved all over the World. I myself moved 13 times over 14 years as an Air Force Brat. I attended 16 schools during that period; 4 high schools, in 3 countries. I am not “unique.” And I also, would do it again, in a heartbeat!

But for all I experienced, I think growing up as a Brat damaged me. (More on this later, if you are interested). And while the Brats of today aren’t subjected to the moves as we were, I think they will be facing “issues” later in life from the multiple deployments of their parents.

Take a look at these kids on TV today – at unit deployments and returns, and on occasion, at military funerals. Look at their faces – the ‘fear,’ the ‘uncertainty,’ the ‘insecurity’ and so forth. And yes, the ‘joy’ with the return of their parents.

Our “politicos’ have no hesitation in using us, and our kids, as “props” during their various campaigns, but they can’t seem to find way to recognize these kids – for their service to our country. The BratPin is doing this.

I am thinking “our story,” the story of the American Military Brat, is a great one, just waiting to be told…

Robert (Bob) F. Holliker, Jr. Lt. Col./USAF (Ret)

Proud AF Brat

To learn more about the BratPin click here. The Museum of the Military Family is telling the Brat story as part of its upcoming exhibit Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family, opening  May 26 2014 at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.  We also post your memory pieces on one of our blogs. Please send stories to: We are looking for donations of any amount to rehabilitate seven 1940’s base housing units to be our permanent “home”.



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