Visitors to the Lea County Museum Military Families Exhibit can contribute to Operation Footlocker

Operation Footlocker is a traveling repository of items and memorabilia put together by Military Brats. Many generations of Military Brats grew up with footlockers—their transient lifestyle meant that their possessions had to be easily fit into something that could be packed up and moved away at a moment’s notice. Toys, books, keepsakes—anything that didn’t fit, often had to be left behind.

Now there is a footlocker for all Brats, traveling around the country, collecting items and memories—as a repository for trinkets and treasures of generations of Brats.

The footlocker travels around the USA–to Brat functions, to schools, to libraries…to anywhere people gather who want to learn more about the military family experience. People come, pour over the contents of the footlocker set out for display and frequently contribute their own items, registering them in the footlocker’s logbook. Some people choose to sit down on the spot and write out a favorite story or memory, adding it to the notebooks which travel with the footlocker.

Inside a typical footlocker there many folders of stories, photos and memorabilia from Brats who attended schools on military installations in the US and Overseas. There are tee shirts, letter jackets, cheerleader sweaters, buttons, yearbooks from various DoD schools, and souvenirs from around the world. There are toys and letters, beer mugs and books—and each footlocker has a mascot.

Wherever the footlocker is, Brats gather, and tell their story by adding an item to the growing collection. Since 1996, there is now a “fleet” of seven footlockers. When they are not traveling the country, they reside at the Museum of the American Military Family in Albuquerque.

When you visit the exhibit, Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family in the Lea County Museum this fall, please bring an item or written memory piece with you to donate to the footlocker collections. Items can be dropped off at the Lea County Museum to be added to a footlocker after the exhibit closes.


Submitted by Iain Woessner


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