Seven moves in 14 years for this 'Air Force brat'

  • Published
  • By McKenna Stone
  • Daughter of Col. Lynn Connett, 81st Training Group commander
Editor's note: The author, an eighth grader, is the daughter of Col. Lynn Connett, 81st Training Group commander, and Col. Jay Stone, deputy director for Air Force Psychological Health.

Many kids grow up in one town under one roof throughout their childhood. Others move every couple years to follow their parent's military jobs. I'm one of those kids. I've experienced the joy of making new friends, the fear of meeting new people and the pain that comes with leaving them. Luckily, there's never a sad ending to our journey into a new and exciting place. It may be hard to depart from somewhere you've grown so fond of, but there are even better opportunities waiting in the place to come.

The Air Force tries to put families first, but that may not always be the result.

This year has been hard on my family and even tougher on us kids.

My mother, Col. Lynn Connett, was assigned to Keesler as a group commander. She was thrilled not only to be out of the Pentagon, but also to receive such an important role. We were all so proud of her, because no one else knows how hard she's worked for this except for us; the ones who see her coming home late, missing school events and working on off days.

My father, Col. Jay Stone, supported her through it all. In fact, they support each other a tremendous amount. But the new adventure didn't last long because after only a few months in Biloxi, we found out that my dad was being reassigned to Washington, D.C., last summer. He had just returned from a seven-month deployment to Iraq and we were only given two months of reuniting. I chose to go with him to see my old friends, be back on my old cheer team and keep him company. Unfortunately, my younger brother and sister stayed in Mississippi with my mom. We only see each other a few times a year, and only for a short amount of time.

Like most brothers and sisters, I fight a lot with my siblings, especially last year when my dad was deployed and my mom worked late. Our nanny had fun supervising the arguments and controlling the TV remote. In a way, being apart has brought us closer together. We realize how much we love each other and need one another. I can't imagine what this year would have been like without Skype, texting or Facebook. My sister, Riley, is my best friend and my motive to be a good example. She understands and listens to me when I call her blabbing about "the new boyfriend of the month," as my mom puts it. And don't even get me started on my little brother, Sawyer. He can be a handful, but by the end of each day, I realize that life would be boring and routine without his crazy sense of humor.

I look up to my parents and those who work hard to defend our country. I hope that someday I can follow in their footsteps to be a remarkable hero and make a difference. Others may pity the kids that have to move around and start over every few years. Even though being an "Air Force brat" has its disadvantages, I can't imagine my life any other way.