As A Military Brat, This Video Is Hard To Watch

Family & Relationships
Michael Garcia poses with Addie Rodriguez after hoisting her on his shoulders during a parents' day cheerleading routine.
Screenshot via NBC

Having grown up as a Navy brat with a dad who deployed for most of my childhood, I get teary-eyed whenever I see it happen to other kids. It brings back all the sadness of watching my dad climb the steps of whatever ship and disappear over the horizon for months at time, missing every life event from the loss of my first tooth to my last father-daughter dance. Every time I hear a story about a kid who misses his or her parent when they are deployed, it cuts me deep.


Addie Rodriguez is a nine year old from San Antonio, Texas, and her dad is a senior airman who was recently sent to train in California. As she says, “I wish you were here too, I miss you,” to him over the phone, I realized: All military brats have, at some point, been Addie Rodriguez.

“She’s really tough and she understands that her dad goes away for a reason,” her mom, Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, told NBC.

Parents’ days are always hard for military brats. And Addie’s heartbreak was made very public during a school football game where her cheerleading team did a father-daughter routine. Her mom didn’t know what to do, and Addie sat crying on the sidelines.

But a senior, Matthew Garcia, jumped down from the bleachers and hopped the fence to hoist Addie on his shoulders so she wouldn’t be left out.

“I just felt like somebody saved my life,” Addie told NBC.

Garcia said he was happy to make her day.

About Garcia’s gesture, her mom added, “My heart just melted.”

In this June 16, 2018 photo, Taliban fighters greet residents in the Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan. (Associated Press/Rahmat Gul)

While the U.S. military wants to keep roughly 8,600 troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban's deputy leader has just made clear that his group wants all U.S. service members to leave the country as part of any peace agreement.

"The withdrawal of foreign forces has been our first and foremost demand," Sirajuddin Haqqani wrote in a story for the New York Times on Thursday.

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U.S. soldiers inspect the site where an Iranian missile hit at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq January 13, 2020. (REUTERS/John Davison)

In the wee hours of Jan. 8, Tehran retaliated over the U.S. killing of Iran's most powerful general by bombarding the al-Asad air base in Iraq.

Among the 2,000 troops stationed there was U.S. Army Specialist Kimo Keltz, who recalls hearing a missile whistling through the sky as he lay on the deck of a guard tower. The explosion lifted his body - in full armor - an inch or two off the floor.

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.

Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.

Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.

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Survival expert and former Special Air Service commando Edward "Bear" Grylls made meme history for drinking his own urine to survive his TV show, Man vs. Wild. But the United States Air Force did Bear one better recently, when an Alaska-based airman peed in an office coffee maker.

While the circumstances of the bladder-based brew remain a mystery, the incident was written up in a newsletter written by the legal office of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on February 13, a base spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose.

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