Operation Footlocker Memory: The Brat Tree

brats


Military families have front seats to history

Circe Olson Woessner

Recently on Facebook, a friend mentioned the difficulties of talking about her military childhood because people think she’s bragging when she speaks about having lived overseas. She admits, “I rarely bring it up any more.”

As the Director of the Museum of the American Military Family, I tell people that in order to understand history, one needs to see it from all perspectives. Military families have often been present during historic events, but much of the time, their experiences are not widely shared.

My husband was overseas conducting multinational exercises on September 11, 2001. I was driving to work listening to the radio when the news of the attacks came over the airways. I remember initially thinking it was a remake of that old radio show, “War of the Worlds.” As it sunk in that it was real, I realized I’d better pick up my kids from their off-base schools, as the base we lived on would go on lock-down. Our lives were about to change. Read the rest of this entry »


Memories of Mom in Post-War Germany

May 6th, 2016 is Military Spouse Appreciation Day–here’s a memory about an incredible military wife–and mom.

By James Kenderdine.

Postcards from when our family was stationed in Germany, 1947-1950. One of my last memories of Germany was when we were getting ready to leave in 1950, stopping on the Autobahn north of Frankfurt and getting out of the car to look south at what was left of the city. Rolling small hills (made of rubble) covered with grass and brush all the way to the center of the city. I could see the ruins of the cathedral in the center of the city from where I stood. When I stood in the same spot again in 1977, all I could see was the city that had been built since 1950, I could not see any part of the cathedral.

Our years in Germany shaped the lives of everyone in our family in ways that, 65 years later, my sister and I are still coming to understand and appreciate. My guess is that any spouse or brat who did not take the Army’s offer of evacuation during the Berlin Airlift feels that same. My mother said she was not leaving, that, in old army terms, “I can stay the winter, no matter how bad it is.” Watching her learn to shoot and MI carbine was fantastic, and to this day, I can still clearly see the image of her carbine, with a 20 round clip in it, round in the chamber, hanging by its sling next to her and dad’s bed. Read the rest of this entry »


“SHOUT: Sharing Our Truth: An Anthology of Writings by LGBT Veterans and Family Members of the U.S. Military Services”

MAMF Special Projects Writer Caroline LeBlanc is seeking stories for:

SHOUT: Sharing Our Truth: An Anthology of Writings by LGBT Veterans and Family Members of the U.S. Military Services”

This anthology seeks first-hand experiences—good, bad, and in between—as an LGBT veteran or family member, during and/or after military service. Our goal is to create a book that will allow you to tell parts of your story that will also be helpful for others to read—others who live or want to understand the LGBT veteran experience. The last chapter of the book will list resources available to LGBT veterans.

Do not submit any materials previously published in print or online. Identifying information should be included in the body of the email only.

What Genres to Submit:

Fiction: up to 1200 words.

Non-Fiction (memoir, essays, and other non-fiction): up to 1200 words

Poetry: up to 40 lines.

Reviews: up to 1200 words about a movie, book, music, etc. that you think are important for others to know about.

Resources: submit information on resources you have found particularly helpful. (Name, webpage, telephone number, and services)

 You may submit up to 2 pieces in each genre. Each piece must be attached in a separate file. All pieces in a given category must be submitted in the same email. Pieces in separate categories must be submitted in separate emails.

Submissions are accepted between March 20 and June 20, 2016. For more information or for guidelines on how to submit, please visit:

 our projects website

 

 

 

 


Operation Footlocker

IMG_2203by Circe Olson Woessner

From the very beginning in 2011, the Museum of the American Military Family had a lot of support from a small group of military brats who’d experienced similar growing pains a little over a decade earlier.

They were the founders of Operation Footlocker.

Operation Footlocker is a grassroots effort to celebrate the shared cultural identity of military brats.

It grew out of an online discussion in 1996.

Mary Edwards Wertsch, author of the book “Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress” and participant in the discussion, first thought of taking a real footlocker and sending it around the country as a way of gathering memorabilia and bringing brats together.

Reta Jones Nicholson provided the first footlocker and was the catalyst who brought Operation Footlocker from discussion to reality.

Marc Curtis, founder of Military Brats Registry, created the Operation Footlocker website, and Gene Moser housed the footlockers. Dozens of people contributed items.

Nicholson wrote in an article published in 2000, “We brats couldn’t take much of our ‘stuff’ with us at moving time (there was a weight allowance), so through the years, we gathered items that carried great meaning to us, representing as they did homes and friends and events that would likely never be returned to. We lost touch with the people and places, but we had our memories, and our portable traditions…” Read the rest of this entry »


Living at the Statue of Liberty

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Friends who lived with us at the Statue of Liberty in 1937. It was then referred to as Bedloes Island. Military families, who lived at nearby Governors Island were sometimes quartered in homes st the Statue. Though only four, at this time I do have memories of playing with my friends and riding the ferry boat. I have seen the Statue many times, when traveling overseas and visiting New York. It always feels very familiar to me. Not many believe me when I tell them I once lived there. —Hudson Phillips


The Museum of the American Military Family is compiling stories for a book reflecting on war…

 

Attention New Mexicans, who are serving in the military, are military veterans, are members of a military family, and would like to write about your experience in that capacity…

 Paul Zolbrod, Writer-in-Residence for the Albuquerque-based Museum of the American Military Family is seeking stories for its anthology “From the Front Line to the Home Front: New Mexicans Reflect on War.”

This anthology will include first-hand stories from all perspectives—service members, family members and friends who share their perspectives and experiences. Submissions can be about the recent Middle East campaigns, Vietnam, the Korean War era or World War II—and everything in between. All branches and ranks of the military should be represented.

How you can contribute:

Your story can be as long or as short as you choose. Just make it heartfelt, honest and interesting. We are looking for stories of trial and triumph and loss, stories that demonstrate the warmth and humor of military family life along with its inevitable tensions, offbeat stories that illustrate the variety that accompanies military life in war times–in other words– anything you want to tell of.

You don’t have to consider yourself an accomplished writer to participate. We will provide editorial services to sharpen your contribution.

The book will be arranged by stories of:

  • Pre-deployment,
  • Deployment
  • Post-deployment
  • Legacy & Aftermath

For more information or to submit a story, please e-mail Writer-in-Residence Paul Zolbrod at mamfwriter@gmail.com.

The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2016. Tentative publication date is scheduled for the fall. All stories become part of the Museum of the American Military Family Special Collection Library.