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What It’s Really Like Growing Up In A Military Town
I was 6 years old when my dad got orders to transfer to Naval Station Norfolk and deploy with the USS Shreveport. So in 1997, we packed up our base house in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and moved to a small, three-bedroom house in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
At the time, my parents made the conscientious decision not to live on base, because we’d already lived in the area from 1991 to 1994 and preferred life off post.
The prospect of moving was daunting at first, as we had family living in Massachusetts, and very few acquaintances in Norfolk. But like all military families do, you put your best face forward and move. Between 1997 and 2001, we rented three different houses before settling on one in a quiet Norfolk neighborhood to buy — one that my parents still live in today.
Unbeknownst to us, the permanent change of station turned out to be one of the best things that could have ever happened. Although moving to a military town is not a decision families make for themselves, learning to love it is their choice.
Known for being home to the world’s largest Navy base, Norfolk boasts something much more special: its people.
One of the most striking things about Norfolk and the Greater Hampton Roads Area is that it’s so deeply influenced by the military. There are very few natives, and most of them, somewhere down the line, had parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents who were brought there by the military. As a kid, almost all my friends had at least one parent serving, if not both.
The thing about living in a military town like Norfolk is that the residents become a part of your extended family. Most military families never have the luxury of living near blood relatives, so you learn to lean on your neighbors, squadron, platoon, or church. When good things happen, they rejoice with you. When bad things happen, they are the first to lend a hand in any way they can.
I remember, there was a girl in my class whose dad was serving on the USS Cole when it was attacked in 2000, and everyone came together to do whatever they could to ease the burden for her mom. We attended a small Catholic school, and the church held a prayer service for his safe return and the safety of the whole crew. He arrived home, and the entire community felt relief with the family.
When the two planes crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, it shook the entirety of Hampton Roads.
My dad, and all my friends’ moms and dads who served, were sent out to sea immediately after the attacks to prevent fleet damage. The families left behind, rather than being sad, afraid, and hiding out at home, came together. Parents who were able to stay home helped watch the children of service members who were deployed. We held candlelight vigils and patriotic picnics, and there was just a feeling that while the attacks were painful, they would not keep us down.
It’s no surprise to me that a number of people I grew up with chose to follow in their parents’ footsteps. After graduating high school, so many of them attended military academies, opted for ROTC, or enlisted. Others I know have since married soldiers, Marines, and sailors. Growing up in a military town laid the foundation for a number of my friends’ adult lives — and I guess I should say mine too.
The military is a lifestyle, and once you’ve experienced it, is almost impossible to leave behind. The friendships you make there are lifelong and survive distance in a way that most relationships can’t. That’s just the culture of the military overall.
Even though Task & Purpose readers voted Norfolk as the worst place in the Navy to be stationed, I find myself missing it often. Regardless of the bad traffic on Military Highway or the extreme flooding when it rains, I’m proud to call Norfolk home, and I couldn’t imagine what life would be like had I not grown up in a military town.
Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.
On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.
Editor's note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia announced on Monday it would hold a large test of its Strategic Missile Forces that will see it fire ballistic and cruise missiles from the land, sea and air this week.
The exercise, from Oct. 15-17, will involve around 12,000 military personnel, as well as aircraft, including strategic nuclear bombers, surface ships and submarines, Russia's Ministry of Defense said in a statement.