Growing up Army: Wouldn’t trade it for anything

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Growing up with my brother and sister in a military family was a challenge. My father was an Army Military Police Officer and we were stationed in places around the world. Throughout the years, we never stayed at one base for more than three years. I hated it. Being an Army brat was about continual change.

My father served in Vietnam in the early 70’s. While he was there we stayed with family in Watertown, Massachusetts. My earliest memory was going to get pizza at a local pizzeria for me and my mother. For the short time that I lived there I got to be around my extended family. It was a blast.

Today the pizzeria is still there.

I was born in Würzburg, Germany, three years into my father’s career. From there we went to San Antonio, Texas, and Fort Riley, Kansas. Then it was across the Atlantic Ocean to Germany where we were stationed at Prüm, Bitburg, and Baumholder. After that was all said and done we went to Newburgh, New York, only to go back to Stuttgart, Germany, where I graduated high school in 1983.

In all, I lived on nine Army bases and went to nine different schools in 20 years. Going to new schools was never easy. Being the new kid in class was the most difficult. I was always an exceptional athlete which made the transitions easier the older I got. Athletes were always the most popular kids in school.

Over those years growing up I felt like I lost more friends than I gained, and that was the toughest part of being a brat. Long distance relationships never seemed to work. I know two people here in Colorado that I went to high school with and that’s it. Everyone else is just a distant memory. There are no reunions or visits back to where I graduated. The high school closed in 1992 and nobody lives there anymore.

Growing up I was an exceptional baseball player. A left handed pitcher with a mid-90’s fastball. In May 1981, I was scouted by the New York Yankees as a sophomore in high school and invited to Yankee stadium for a private workout. By June of the same year, I was at Stuttgart High School where they played soccer, not baseball.

My memories growing up were of the constant changes in my life that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I got to see and experience things most people never get a chance to. In Germany I was fortunate to visit numerous communities where they always welcomed us with open arms.

In Germany I got to go to Octoberfest, Grand Prix at Nürburgring, and Auschwitz. As a senior in high school my class took a Rhine River boat cruise. I even skied the Swiss Alps in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The German food was outstanding and the beverages were even better. As for the U.S. I didn’t get to see much of it except for Kansas, Texas, and New York. But that was O.K.

I left Stuttgart in 1984 and have been in the U.S. ever since. Except for the nine years I lived in San Diego, I’ve lived in Colorado Springs. As much as I like it here, a part of me will always miss Germany.