CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea -- The old adage goes, "Control what you can, and leave what you can't."
Many military families don't control when they leave, nor where they go. It can be stressful times, but one family seems to have found ways to thrive through the uncertainty of military life.
"You hear the negative things about the military family, and moving around so much," said Tammy Carney, the wife of Air Force Col. Eric Carney, USAF Pacific Command, USFK Commanders Initiatives Group chief. "I think if you work hard, and you have support, any military family can have the great success our family has achieved; in spite of 13 moves, nine different schools, including three different high schools."
Eric and Tammy were high school sweethearts, from Kansas City, Kansas, before Eric commissioned into the military. Last month, they celebrated their 23rd anniversary surrounded by their family.
Education and service are the cornerstones of their family values, which they have instilled in their three children.
"We absolutely love the Air Force," Tammy said. "The best part of this all is to be able to show our children service. Eric says, 'They make it very easy for us to serve. They are very supportive of us, and they love the Air Force just as much as we do. We highlight the positive aspects of service, identify the different needs of our children, and make sure their needs are met at each assignment,'" she said.
The Carneys have fulfilled their role in identifying the educational needs of their children, and simplifying the difficulties of transitioning.
Their son, Ethan, a freshman at the Humphreys High School, agreed leaving friends behind and moving to new locations have been difficult, but he said he kept a positive outlook, and enjoyed the travel opportunities, which made it all possible.
"The most difficult part is moving around and leaving your friends," he said. "Once you get settled and build new friends, it feels like you have to leave and gain new friends again. But you can still keep your friends that you left, with social media, but leaving is the hardest part.
"You have to keep positive and try new things," he said. "There's so many experiences. Moving around is hard but you get to see new people and places, like Korea."
His twin sisters, Caroline and Olivia, seniors at the same school, also communicated the same experience but kept education as their top priority.
"When you attend one school, it's a different standard from other schools, even if you stay within the States," Caroline said. "Areas are different and it can be difficult. It seems that once you adjust and get comfortable in one community, it's time to go again. It's especially difficult when applying to colleges."
Contrary to the sentiment expressed by Caroline, she and Olivia have maintained weighted 4.16, and 4.19 GPAs, respectively.
The twins created and maintain a YouTube page, with more than 4,000 subscribers. They have connected with a virtual audience of more than 1 million subscribers, through various social media platforms.
Collectively, they are members of various school clubs, win multiple awards, earn national recognition scholastically, earn letters in athletics, stay active within their church, and obtain employment and perform community outreach.
They've also been accepted to three universities within the state of Texas.
"We've been accepted to Baylor, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M," they said together.
"My education has allowed me to accomplish my dream," Eric said. "My dream was to serve in the military. My dream was to fly airplanes. As a father, it's exciting to see my girls put themselves in a position to accomplish their dreams. I focus when I'm at work, so I don't go home and sit at the dinner table being distracted. I'm an Airman, a husband and a father. I can't ever fail as a husband or a father."