Bound by Service, Connected by Blood: Supporting the Mission as a Military Child

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ruben Garibay
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

It is not a secret that the military requires a great of amount of sacrifice from its members. Time, energy, blood, sweat and tears, come from those put on the uniform, day-in and day-out.

It’s imperative to know, that these sacrifices do not only affect those in uniform, but the families and friends of those who serve as well.

Joey Power, a 15-year-old military dependent, recently shared his perspective on being a career military child and the son of Col Michael Power, 377th Air Base Wing Commander.

Both of Joey’s parents served in the Air Force. His mom served six years while his dad is approaching his 23-year mark. Throughout his entire life, Joey he has been a witness to the success of his parents’ careers.

“One time when I felt proudest about my dad’s leadership was back in Wyoming during the Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo,” remembers Joey. “ In front of thousands of people, I got to see my dad march the 90 th Maintenance Group down the main road. Just hearing all the cheers and seeing all the people he leads and has a big impact on was just, wow.”

It’s moments like these that remind Joey of the responsibility his dad carries all while reaffirming him and his family’s duty to uphold positivity and success back home.

“My dad is gone about two weeks out of every month,” says Joey. “But when I think about why he is gone, you know, to serve and protect our nation, it reminds me of the responsibility I have here at home.”

Although Joey does not wear the uniform, he still connects with the mission of the Air Force and treats it as his own duty to accomplish it, even if it’s doing something as simple as getting good grades.

“It’s important for me to make sure I am doing good in school and not getting into trouble,” Joey states. “If I am getting into fights or failing my classes, then that can take away my dad’s focus while he is away. And that is not good for the security of our nation. Same goes for any member who is away from their home, no matter if they are a personalists or they’re out there on the frontlines in foreign nations.”

Joey’s commitment to academic success and good behavior extends beyond personal ambition; it’s rooted in his deep understanding of the ripple effect.

For him, seeing his father wearing the uniform is not just a routine but a reminder of a noble purpose behind his sacrifices.

“Every time I see my dad in the morning, leaving for work in his uniform, I get that sense of pride,” Joey exclaims. “He’s not walking out in a business suit to go make money. He’s going to defend and serve our nation.”

While Joey knows there are great privileges with being a military child, like witnessing his father lead thousands of military members, he recognizes that not everyone understands the significance and service behind individuals who wear the uniform.

Joey expresses one of the most relatable challenges every military child will encounter at some point in their lives, moving to close-knit communities.

“A lot of your normal kids, have their own friend groups growing up,” Joey explains. “They have been friends since kindergarten. Then, when a military kid comes to their school, it’s like who is this kid? That’s where the challenge begins.”

Suddenly, there’s a new kid on the block with a new story which causes a disruption to the familiar landscape of these lifelong friendships that have been forged since grade school.

Navigating his way through the social constructs of the school system, Joey has learned that the best way to overcome the “outsider” stigma is to learn how to be more outgoing and how to discern those “good” kids from the “bad” kids.

“You have to know the right questions to ask and who to ask them too,” Joey describes. “You have to be ready to build those relationships without being scared of getting rejected. If you’re afraid of being rejected, then you will get stuck.”

Through trial and error, Joey has learned the meaning of extending your arm forward to connect with people, no matter the situation or the surroundings he is in.

“Moving around has taught me how to connect to people from all different ages or races,” Joey reflects. “You can never be like, Oh I only hang out with these kids who are into Minecraft. If you do that, it’s not going to go well because you never really step out beyond your circle.”

Since Joey’s birth, he has moved a total of seven times to five different states. Each move, challenges as well as opportunities for him to experience..

“Probably the hardest thing about moving is saying goodbye to those friends you make,” Joey shares. “ The hardest goodbye I have had to say is to my friend Ryan back in Virginia. We had known each other for about five years and just knowing the fact that I was moving across the country, really got to me.”

Goodbyes are never easy, but despite the challenges that come with moving, friends, and time away from family, Joey has remained optimistic about all the adventures that come with every new place.

He has already begun to follow in his parents’ footsteps by being an active member of the Civil Air Patrol and Navy Junior Reserves Officer Training Corps.

Joey does not stop here. He is also an athlete, participating in track, maintaining his passions no matter where he is at.

With the journey that comes with military life, he is a prime example of what a resilient mind can accomplish.

“I have three younger siblings,” Joey says. “We have to count on each other. I try to help them by sharing what I have gone through but ultimately, we all need to experience our own journey.”

Resilient, level-headed, and integrity are all key characteristics Joey embodies as a military child. He hopes they will serve him well one day as he pursues a career in civil service so he too can leave his mark like his mom and dad have and be a part of something bigger.

“Wing Commander, civilian in a suit, or a military child you are a part of the mission,” Joey finishes.