TEST Kids: AFTC Salutes the Military Child

  • Published
  • By Tiffany Holloway
  • Air Force Test Center

Military children are constantly being tested as to how flexible they can be while supporting their parents. They move every few years, have to make new friends, and try to keep up with their favorite activities that may not be at the next duty station.

Seven Air Force Test Center children here at Edwards Air Force Base, California, took some time to discuss what it means to be a military child.

Bryan Stafford, a new kid on the block and son of AFTC Command Chief Master Sgt. Brian Stafford moved here late last summer. He hopes to one day follow in his Dad’s footsteps and join to the Air Force to do coding. The 17-year-old said traveling and meeting new friends around the world is the best thing about having a Dad in the Air Force. However, the worst thing is “moving every 2-4 years” and not being able to see his friends again.

He keeps up with his friends by going online and playing video games.

“We chat and play games all the time when I am not doing my school work,” he said.

When asked about school, Bryan said his favorite subject is science.

“I like learning about rocks, minerals, space, and computer science.”

Bryan’s dad’s recommendation for getting through the tough times is to keep hanging in there.

“Keep up with your schoolwork,” said Stafford. “Always keep the communication open from you to your parents.”

Jessica Hall, executive assistant to the AFTC executive director, Dr. Eileen Bjorkman, said she wants to do something special for her children, especially this year.

“We will celebrate our children by writing them personal letters, letting them know how much we love them and appreciate their sacrifice,” said Hall. “In June, we will reunite with grandma, auntie and uncle in which we’ll have a formal celebration for our children and extended family.”

Hall’s son, 17-year-old Darion, said the best thing about being a military child is being able to travel and see new places. His 15-year-old sister Kameron Footman agrees.

“You get a chance to travel a lot and experience new things,” she said.

Fourteen-year-old Davion Hall is ready to join the military like his dad, Master Sgt. Steven L. Hall. For him, all of the benefits of being in the Air Force are enticing.

The Halls have been stationed in several places. Darion and Kameron said their favorite place so far is Texas. Davion said South Carolina.

When the Hall children aren’t keeping in touch with their friends by social media and text, they are studying their favorite subjects: Physics, Math and English.

For Saadyiah, Rochell and Aviyah, the daughters of Col. Oren Leff, AFTC Staff Judge Advocate, life has been an adventure.

Imagine the resiliency needed as 12, 9, and 7-years-olds having already lived in California, Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, and Italy.

Academically, the girls enjoy reading, science and math. They keep their parents, busy with several extracurricular activities throughout the year.

Saadyiah, 12, loves to play volleyball and read. She also said, “I love to draw and do art projects.”

Rochell, 9, said, “I like to practice for my dance competitions.”

The youngest of the group, Aviyah, 7, loves spending time with other kids.

“I like to rollerblade around the neighborhood. It gives me exercise and I get to see my friends,” she said. “I like going to my friends’ house to play. They make me comfortable and it feels like it’s where I want to be.”

The girls agree that the best thing about being a military child is the opportunity to travel and meet new people.

One out three said they would join the military.

Rochell said, “Yes, I want to join the military, but I don’t know what I want to do in the military yet.  I want to serve our country and our allies.”

Aviyah is on the fence about following in her dad’s footsteps. “I can but I’d rather not. I don’t want to be at work all the time like Daddy.”

At the end of the day, all seven AFTC children were in agreement with the advice they would give younger military children: Do not be afraid to meet new friends, make the best out of this experience by exploring, and be prepared to move a lot.

Aviyah assures younger children that “once your parent leaves the military, you’ll miss all the moving and new things. You will want it back.”

The Month of the Military Child is part of the legacy left by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. He established the Defense Department commemoration in 1986.

For more information ideas on how to celebrate Month of the Military Child, visit https://www.dodea.edu/dodeaCelebrates/Military-Child-Month.cfm.