I was born in a hospital on a military base. Two years later, I was moved from one base to another. And this process has repeated more or less the same way my entire life. But now that I won’t be moving again anytime soon, I have had a chance to slow down and look back on my time as a military kid. Particularly, the time I spent living in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
When I was two years old, my family and I moved to Fort Campbell. We lived in a small house on base, pretty close to one of the entrance and exit gates. Our neighbors to the right had two little girls who were the same age as my younger sister and I, and our neighbors to the left had a little boy a year older than me. The five of us were best friends. We did everything together: birthdays, play dates, school, holidays, and more. They were there for the majority of the beginning of my life and taught me about kindness, sharing, compassion, and friendship. The friends I made at Campbell were the first of many lifelong friends I would make as a military brat.
Fort Campbell did not only introduce me to my first friends but many other firsts as well. My first day of school was spent at a school on base. I rode a bike for the first time. I lost my first tooth. I wrote my first letter to Santa. I met my baby cousin for the first time. I read a book all by myself for the first time. I went sledding for the first time. And my first memory is sitting by a window in our home, watching a typical Kentucky storm make the gray sky thunder and the rain pour. I remember my mom had opened the window a little bit so that we could listen to the rain. The man on the TV was talking about the weather and a trash can tumbled down the street in the wind. These new experiences allowed me to better understand the world and granted me confidence and an infallible sense of wonder.
After three years spent at Campbell, we moved away to the Naval Station in Newport so that my dad could attend the Naval Academy. But I never forgot the great times I spent with my family and friends in Campbell. My grandfather built us a tire swing in the backyard and I remember all five of us swinging on it until the rope broke. He also built us a play house with a slide and swings and monkey bars, then cemented it into the ground. I often hope it’s still there. One time, my dad pitched a tent in the backyard and he, my sister, and I went ‘camping’. He was either deployed, out in the field, or at the office, but always working for the army. And so our time was precious.
My time on Fort Campbell, Kentucky set the stage for my life to come as a military brat. I made great friends, had exciting adventures, and adjusted to a good life. Then I had to move and leave it all behind. However, although I was very young and don’t remember most of those years, I still have vivid memories that I will cherish forever, all from living a military life.