Raised in the U.S. Military

I was raised in the U.S. military. Not a lot of us raised-military people make it into Co-Counseling, but those of us who do can often be found at Southern (U.S.) Liberation Workshops. There were fifteen of us at the most recent of these. I was able to have a raised-military group. I’ve also been meeting once a month in a three-way session with two other raised-military Co-Counselors.

That there are more of us in the South makes sense. The majority of U.S. bases are there. Economic conscription has also brought many Southern Global Majority people into the military.

I always ask at workshops if there are any other raised-military Co-Counselors present. Sometimes there will be one. There was one at the Healing from War Workshop. Usually I’m the only one.

Being raised in the U.S. military means having a parent who spent time in the army, navy, air force, or marines. We have a strange and unique set of patterns. We’ve lived in many places and often feel like we’re not from anywhere. We grew up in a “country” called “Military Base” that kept changing locations but was basically the same. All the adult men killed people for a living, and all the other adults were in service to them. So the schools were uber [extremely] patriotic to justify this killing. There were usually lines of soldiers marching near our house, our school, wherever we drove, chanting, “Your left, right,” and so on, and carrying rifles.

Being raised military in the United States means that you are the military arm of the imperialist force oppressing the world. Any country that doesn’t have a military large enough to counter the United States, or is not an ally, is vulnerable.

My father was raised poor, and the owning class cut a deal with him: if he killed people for them, they would feed his family. As children we were taught that our parents killed people to defend freedom, justice, and democracy. It’s brutal when you become old enough to realize the lie.

The army has a policy of moving its soldiers every year and a half to promote emotional detachment, which is necessary in this profession. Empathy has to be crushed and weakness and independent thinking programmed out. For an adult, this is not good; for a child, it’s devastating. Many of the raised-military children I knew growing up are dead now, mostly from overdoses.

Closeness is a huge contradiction [to distress] for raised-military Co-Counselors. Many of us developed patterns of “out of sight, out of mind” to survive. We often can’t remember people who don’t live near us and sometimes can’t remember we’re close to anyone. Co-Counselors who don’t understand this can get offended.

Raised-military children get soldier training from birth—to take pain silently, be tough, not cry, not show weakness. It took me a year in RC before I could cry again. Raised-military patterns are similar to the patterns from men’s oppression. Many years ago when my partner died and I was crying hard, my father (the Colonel) said, “I thought you were a good soldier.” Through my tears I thanked him from the bottom of my heart for saying that out loud.

Francy Caprino

Leesburg, Virginia, USA

[There is a new Information Coordinator for People Raised Military: Kathleen Hamilton. For her contact information, see page 92 of this Present Time.]

(Present Time 191, April 2018)

Last modified: 2018-07-29 12:16:36+00