By 1st Sgt. Sandra Lucas
The term “military brat” is a badge of honor claimed by many generations of people who grew up in military families. This month, the Department of Defense (DOD) celebrates the more than 1.6 million children of parents who are currently serving.
For several generations of one military family, having a parent who has served is almost the norm.
“We are three generations of military. My grandfather was in the Navy, father was in the Army National Guard and brother Matt is active Army. I am the only enlisted and love what I do,” Staff Sgt. John “Jordan” Travis said.
Jordan’s father, Col. William “Terry” Travis, served in the Alabama National Guard from 1989 to 2017, when he retired. His service included deployments to Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan in 2009. Today, Terry is the executive assistant to the adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard.
“Jordan is an outstanding NCO. He always takes time to assist the young service members. He calls it ‘taking care of the Joes,’” Terry said.
“Matt is my son-in-law and is on the fast track to become a general officer. Matt’s dad was in the Air Force and I was in the Army Guard. Matt is an outstanding commissioned officer. Jordan excels as an NCO and Matt excels as an officer. Both are right where they need to be.”
The Travis men respect and admire each other. Jordan noted that his dad’s first deployment in 2006 was to Iraq; three years later, Jordan’s first deployment was also to Iraq and they both earned the same deployment patch.
“My dad was a lawyer [in his civilian life when I was] growing up. After working one summer at his law firm, I knew then I wanted nothing to do with being a lawyer,” Jordan said.
“When I saw my dad shut down his private law firm to deploy to Iraq, that was a moment I will never forget. I knew then that [the] military would play a role in my life. If my dad was willing to shut down his private practice to deploy and serve his country, then I knew I needed to do my part as well.”
According to the School Superintendents Association website, approximately 2 million military children have experienced a parental deployment since 2001. The impact on children and other family members can be difficult.
Recognizing the need to support military families, especially military children, the Armed Forces have developed numerous resources to support military children.
The USO, too, provides specialized programming to support these youngest members of the military community, no matter where their parents’ military service takes them.
Today, Jordan has two children of his own, “military brats” who adore their dad, the uniform and all it stands for.
“For me, without a doubt, the military has helped me. Being a military child and now being in the military with children of my own has really given me a sense of purpose and direction,” he said.
“The Alabama National Guard really is like a big family. They always support the community, state and country through deployments, natural disasters, small community events and so much more.”
-This story originally appeared on NationalGuard.mil in 2021. It has been updated for USO.org in 2022.
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