CRANE, Ind. - The men and women of America's military provide an invaluable service in defense of the nation. Behind many Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are military children, the sons and daughters of service members who make significant sacrifices on behalf of their parent in uniform.
Military children experience firsthand the meaning of service through relocations, deployment and so much more during the parent's military career. Each year the month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to honor these very young boys and girls for their contributions to our nation's defense.
Sixth-grader Aidan Garlington, 12, and third-grader Kayleigh Garlington, 9, live on Naval Support Activity Crane, where their father, Col. Michael Garlington, commands Crane Army Ammunition Activity.
Like many military children, Aidan and Kayleigh have lived all over the country. They consider traveling one of the best parts of military life.
"We get to meet a lot of new people and see a lot of different places," Kayleigh said. "We've driven through all the states except for Alaska and Hawaii pretty much."
While the frequent moves uproot the Garlingtons, they also bring them together.
"Moving to new places is hard because you have to leave your friends," Aidan said. "But that makes us closer to family because we all have to deal with moving."
Multiple moves and other aspects of military life makes the Garlington children and the sons and daughters of other military families more resilient and better adapted to handle life's challenges as adults.
"When you get a job you're going to have to move and you're going to have to leave some friends," Aidan said. "We've gotten used to it."
Throughout each move, Aidan and Kayleigh make new friends and find continuity by staying involved in activities like Girl Scouts and sports teams.
"I do Girl Scouts," Kayleigh said. "We learn about friendships and how to treat each other right. I've been in Girl Scouts my whole elementary school life."
The Garlington family is preparing for a final military move this summer as Col. Garlington's military career comes to an end. Kim Garlington, wife of Col. Garlington and mother of Aidan and Kayleigh, anticipates many changes in the months ahead.
"It's bittersweet," Kim Garlington said. We will finally call a place 'home,' but we will miss all the good people in the military we call family."
Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions requirements in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It is one of 14 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial base installations under the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants.