“My Home’s in Alabama” is an album by the band Alabama and it’s what Caroline Kent believes – even though she’s called seven other states home.
She is the daughter of Col. Geoff and Aimee Kent and, after being born in Tennessee, has lived in Hawaii, Rhode Island, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Washington state and, now, Alabama.
It’s rather routine for military children to grow up around the country or even the world as their parents are transferred from assignment to assignment. In the Month of the Military Child, the Redstone Rocket is featuring local military children.
“I’ve loved it,” Caroline, a junior at the University of Alabama, said of her experience as a military child. “It’s come with its own set of challenges.”
She said it’s hardest for middle- and high-schoolers because kids are forming cliques and finding it harder to “fit in.” Caroline said she did a project on military children and schools and found “7% go to schools on post; the others go to area schools.”
“They would find it hard to join teams and groups,” she said. “I gained confidence by meeting people and I’m confident, now, talking to people.”
Her father is the executive officer to Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, senior commander of Redstone Arsenal. An Alabama graduate, Kent has been in the Army 28 years and he and Aimee have been married for 27 years. They have two other children: Emily, who has a bachelor’s and master’s from Alabama and works in Nashville; and Jack, a junior at Grissom High School.
“I grew up a huge Alabama fan,” Caroline said. “My parents have a gameday house there. It’s our fallback spot.”
She graduated high school in Colorado but said Seattle was her favorite spot (her father was stationed at Fort Lewis).
“It was during COVID,” Caroline said. “It was a lot of fun – we went hiking and shopping. May to August were awesome – there was a lot of sunshine.
“When I look back on it, I really enjoyed going to so many places.”
Now, Caroline is preparing for life after Alabama. Majoring in elementary education and early childhood, she is student teaching at an elementary school. She also has her sights on a higher goal.
“I’ve been thinking about getting my master’s and working in administration,” she said. “It all depends on where my dad goes.”
Caroline offers some advice for children of military families.
“Definitely, it stings when you leave,” she said. “But you’ll have friends all over the country.
“You’ll appreciate the time with your family. A house is just a building but your family and friends are always there.”