Fort Bragg, 1957

–Mike Leary

Flashback. Fort Bragg, 1957, I’m 13. I’d been on my bike going back home with a friend and came to the railroad track. Before I could hop off, my front tire hit a rock which flipped me over and my head hit the rail, busting my forehead bloody. My friend walked me up to the housing area where the woman happened to be a nurse and took me to Womack hospital where they stitched me up with 5 stitches. 

A week later I was to get them out and got into an argument with my mother who wouldn’t drive me. It was blowing up a North Carolina storm with sheets of lightning and I had to peddle about 3 miles to the hospital. I got there waited a bit and they took me back where I laid on a gurney. The doctor had got two of them out, when there was a lot of commotion going on. A nurse came in and took him to another room.

I waited at least 15 minutes before she came back in and asked me to go back out to the waiting room. It was now full of soldiers. They had made a jump just before the bad weather and were on the drop zone when the storm started. They’ed been hit by lightning. One guy was helping others when he went into spasms and collapsed in the waiting room. It was pouring down rain now and I called my mom. She came and got me and put my bike in the trunk. My dad took out the rest of the stitches.


I was born the son of a US Army soldier on a US Army post, in a US Army hospital, and lived on various US Army posts in the US and in Germany during my Dad’s 22 year US Army career…I attended nine different schools in my first twelve years of schooling, starting in Germany and ending in Tennessee…I saw things and visited places that most civilian kids only dream about…I grew up with and lived among people of all races, colors and creeds, and experienced cultures other than just American culture, broadening my view of the world…I sat in school classrooms beside children of all colors and religions, black, yellow, brown and white, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu or agnostic, without racism or religious intolerance rearing their ugly heads, ever…and I learned to get along with others, to be adaptable, to be flexible and to fit in wherever we happened to live…being born and raised a US Army Brat truly prepared me for life in so many ways, for which I am eternally thankful…after all these years I still consider myself a Brat, and if I had the the chance to go back and live life over, I wouldn’t change a thing…growing up a US Army Brat truly enriched my life in so many ways…fellow Brats, I think we all have a common story…we all were given a precious gift when we were born to US military parents…be always thankful…🙂

Tim Murph

Christmas, 1965

By Mark Vosel

Shout out to the Military spouses! 

This was Christmas, 1965, Columbus GA. Pop was in Vietnam, flying the Army’s Flying Crane Helicopter. Christmas was left to Mom. She was able to get both my brother and me the GI JOE Navy Panther Jet. These things were big because GI JOE was big back then (my brother is holding frogman Joe). My little sister is sitting in her Christmas rocker, newly painted with decals applied by my mom. 

It was a tough year. One of the Cranes crashed, killing all on board. We didn’t know who it was for 24 hours. There were only a handful of pilots and we all lived in the Columbus, GA area, the town surrounding Ft Benning. Mom had us kneel beside her bed and prayed that we would have the strength to deal with the news. The families affected by this tragic event were ones we shared meals with frequently. The Ia Drang Campaign was conducted during his tour. The number of casualties overwhelmed many Ft Benning families. When my dad returned from Vietnam, my mom burned her black funeral dress. She wore it too many times that year. 

Despite the fact that Pop was ‘overseas’, 1965 ended with a magic Christmas for us kids, thanks to Mom’s diligence and love. 

My parents are both 91 years old and are living on their cattle farm in rural Alabama near Ft. Rucker. We will all be gathering on Christmas Day once again! 

Merry Christmas to all my Brat friends.