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My brothers and I grew up as Military Brats on US Air Force Bases in Europe and the States post WWII. As all brats and spouses of Active Duty Military Personnel understand so well, we never lived in one place very long and there were hardships to endure.
For us brats, it was moving away from friends and becoming the new kid once again. Often, we'd outgrow our clothes before our possessions reached us at our new home.
All that traveling did however, give us a perspective of the world not shared by those who spent most of their lives in one place and whose world view was narrowly defined by what was fed them by the media.

It's a big world and we're all in this together.

Burtonwood AFB Military Dependent School 1954

Burtonwood AFB Dependant School 1954

The Flight Line was never far away. It was the reason we were there, where our Dad worked, where we arrived and where we departed for the next temporary home. Except when we went to watch the planes take off and land for the thrill of it, it was a place we always seemed to be coming into or going out of in the dark

My kindergarten classroom was the second quonset hut from the left.
The low wall structure in front of the quonset hut on the right was there to dive into for protection in case of a strafing attack.
The fact that we lived on a military target was never far from our minds.

Our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins endured the Blitz in London and we were well aware that evil existed in the world. We also knew that they would do everything in their power to prevent it from happening again, because there is nothing glorious about war. Innocent people die.

Our parents exemplified that hope.
Dad had landed at Normandy, went all the way to Berlin, and experienced the horror of liberating Nazi Concentration Camps.
Mom was at home raising my two brothers, struggling to make do during the cold Vermont winters on rations and my Dad's small Sergeant's salary.

At the end of the war, Dad transferred from the US Army Combat MP's into the Army Air Force and stayed in when it was separated into the US Air Force in 1947.
He volunteered for the Berlin Airlift and was stationed in Germany. As a member of the Occupation Forces in what was now called Peacetime, and a non-commissioned officer, he was allowed to bring his family and was billeted in a private home that had been requisitioned for use by the Air Force.

I was born there, and my twenty one year career as an Air Force Brat began.

Flight Lines are notoriously windy and stark, but for me, they will always somehow feel like home.
Only another brat will truly understand.

For more on the Berlin Airlift see: HISTORY

© Copyright Michael Mahoney 2006 All Rights Reserved.