The Current

Reflection: Growing up on a military base

Jamie as a child and her father pose for a picture

Jamie as a child and her father pose for a picture

Danni Carmichael

Danni Carmichael

Jamie as a child and her father pose for a picture

Jamie Carmichael, Associate Editor

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Guns, tanks, and fighter air crafts. These are some things I regularly saw for almost nine years. It was my livelihood, my home, the thing that makes me unique: Fort Dix, New Jersey.

When I tell people I grew up on a military base, they tend to make comments about my “abnormal childhood.” But in all honesty, it wasn’t that different. I grew up with the same schools, the same type of houses, and the same amenities as everyone else. The only real difference is that it was enclosed.

The small town of Fort Dix, New Jersey isn’t what you would imagine. It was a regular town with pools, daycares, and grocery stores. I loved it. It was safe and everyone knew each other because everyone had something in common. But the best part for me was that I could go practically anywhere and feel safe.

Growing up on Fort Dix was an experience. Nothing was distinctly abnormal besides the fact that I lived down the street from a federal prison, and as far as I know not many people can say that. It wasn’t dangerous or anything. The prison was in the middle of the town and surrounded with barbed wire.

However, there were advantages to growing up with a military background. I’m excellent at military time, considering that was my only means of telling time in public. People ask me now how I can tell that 15:00 is 3 pm so quickly. I kindly remind them that half of my childhood revolved around me knowing military time.

There’s something about Fort Dix I’ll never forget. I don’t know if it’s because I remember hearing an empty cannon fired at 5 pm sharp every day. Or the fact that I was unknowingly being raised in a house built during World War II. It’s something I’ll never forget. It’s what makes me, me.

I’ve never regretted growing up on a military base. It’s what makes me unique. I’m a military brat in a military family and that’s something no one will ever take away from me. It’s my identity.

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