The Fort Huachuca Scout review on .pdf
"First-ever documentary on military brats is shown in Tucson"
Tanja Linton, The Fort Huachuca Scout, Fort Huachuca, AZ
March 15, 2007
Scout On The Street - What's special about being a military brat?
James Custis, Air Force Brat, Tucson, AZ
“Traveling for free and learning other languages and cultures.”
Patrick Shockley, Air Force Brat, Tucson, AZ
"All my experiences growing up in the U.S. and Japan."
Michael Moynihan, Air Force Brat, Tucson, AZ
"You get to travel and experience new things and learn to accommodate strangers more easily."
Jeri Glass, Air Force Brat/Army Spouse, Anthem, AZ
"Camaraderie and closeness. You have a common experience with others. Being a BRAT is your hometown."
Donna Musil, Army Brat, Movie producer, "BRATS: Our Journey Home"
"I really think being exposed to so many cultures and countries made me who I am. I feel like a true
member of the human race. If every child spent one year abroad, the world would be a better place."
Where are you from?” is a question most
people can answer with one or two words. If your
response is more complicated and requires a long
explanation you probably share a common experience
with an estimated five percent of Americans
who grew up as military brats.
The sheer variety of appropriate answers to
the question “Where are you from?” was the main
topic of discussion for about 250 military brats
who came out March 6 to see the first documentary
about growing up military at the Loft Cinema
Tucson was selected as a site to screen the
movie because of military installations in the
area, a large population of adult military brats and
“Brats: Our Journey Home,” written and
directed by independent filmmaker and Army brat
Donna Musil, is an award-winning documentary
that looks at the highs and lows of growing up in a
military family. It includes the input from military
brats across the services as well as historians and a
Some of the better-known brats who participated
in the film include: Kris Kristofferson, who
not only narrated, but donated original songs to
the production, and Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf
who is both a military brat and the father of military
brats. They and others discuss the profound
affect growing up “brat” has had on their lives.
The film is a seven-year work of passion which
features rare archival footage, home movies and
private photographs from post-war Japan, Germany,
“We brats have no true hometowns and our
friends are scattered to the winds. As a result, we
often go through adulthood feeling lost and alone,”
commented Musil. “This film is dedicated to those
who have known that feeling.”
The audience, made up mostly of Air Force
and Army brats, but also a few Navy and Marine
Corps brats, echoed that sentiment — often with
laughter. Being a military brat is your hometown.
“This is the most normal I’ve ever felt,” said
one woman during a question-and-answer session
with Musil after the screening.
Throughout the audience, heads nodded in
agreement. The discussion with Musil almost took
on the air of a revival meeting as total strangers
who thought they had an unusual childhood realized
they had so much in common with each other.
The film also had an effect on a former Department
of Defense Schools System teacher at the
screening. “I wish I had seen this before I taught.
I would have had an insight into their lives,” said
Ike Gaskin about the taught military kids he taught
in France and Turkey.
The journey that lead to making the film began
in 1997 when Musil began searching the Internet,
looking for some of her former classmates from
her high school in Taegu, Korea. That search
yielded some contacts and soon a get-together was
When they met, the group spent the entire
weekend talking non-stop about their shared experiences.
“I realized there were others like me. I
didn’t have to explain myself,” said Musil. When
she returned home, Musil did some research and
realized there was no film about military brats.
“Today, I have a film about a group of people
whose only ‘hometowns’ are each other. My vision
is that this film might be a spark in a global fire
of self-awareness and belonging — that from the
ashes of war might rise a nation of children committed
to peace,” said Musil. “If every child spent
one year abroad the world would be a better place”
Nobody really knows how many military brats
exist. Neither DoD nor anyone else has kept a
count of the number of children raised in the U.S.
military. The DoD school system estimates it
has educated 4 to 7 million military kids overseas
since 1946. But that’s only 20-30 percent of the
total brat population, so the total is more likely at
least 15 million.
The dictionary defines “brat” as a spoiled or
impolite child, but to millions of Americans the
word is used like a badge of honor and defines
their unique upbringing.
“Brats: Our Journey Home” is on a nationwide
tour with stops currently scheduled in Texas. The
documentary will air on the Armed Force Radio
and Television Service during April, Month of the
Military Child. To view the trailer and learn more
about the film, visit www.bratsfilm.com.
Ways to get involved and learn more about military brat culture:
Find fellow brats on the Internet
The Internet has made tracking down old
classmates easier than ever. You can register
with the Military Brat Registry (www.militarybrat.
com) or Overseas brats (www.oveseasbrats.
com). Do a search for your school’s alumni association.
Vietnam-Iraq Brats Mentor Program
Brats Without Borders is looking for Vietnam
brats interested in participating in a mentoring
program with Iraq brats (meaning American
brats whose parent(s) fought in Vietnam or
the current War in Iraq). If you’re interested,
visit www.bratsfilm.com and click on “future
Home Movies and Photographs
Brats Without Borders is also still searching
for home movie footage and still photographs
from military families to use in follow-up projects
to BRATS: Our Journey Home. Visit www.
bratsfilm.com and click on “future projects” for
The American Overseas Schools Historical Society
This organizations is developing an archive
and planning a museum dedicated to overseas
schools in Wichita, Kan. Learn more about their
efforts at http://aoshs.wichita.edu/welcome.html.
Attend a local military brat conference
The “Every Brat Has a Story” Conference
takes place at the Heard Museum in Phoenix
March 31 and April 1. The event features a
workshop by brat author Mary Edwards Wertsch,
author of “Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood
Inside the Fortress," a screening and discussion
of “BRATS: Our Journey Home,” and opportunities
to share stories and connect with one
another. Sign up through the brat store at www.