Military Brat

Wallaby Airlines | 35 Squadron | RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam

Military Brat

March 26, 2020 News 0


Subject: Origin of the term “Military Brat”


Thanks to Doug P.

I found this interesting.  The following article was reprinted (without permission) from an item by the president of the Air Force Association in a 2014 issue of Air Force Magazine.  It may be a revelation for most of us who have used the term, but did not know its origination.  I copied it from the March 2020 55th Wing Association quarterly newsletter.



Many of you may know that the term ‘BRAT’ is a common reference to the children of military members.  It is a term of endearment, referring to a group who often endure hardships, frequently move, change schools, leave behind friends, put up with deployments, long absences of their parents, and sometimes inadequate government housing.


A researcher at the National Defense University found a book written in 1921 which described the origins of the term.  It came, like many of our military traditions, from the British Army.  It seems that when a member of the British Army was assigned abroad, and could take his family (mostly to India), the family went with the member in an administrative status entitled: BRAT, an acronym for:  BritishRegiment Attached Traveler.


Over the years, it was altered to refer only to the children of the military member since the wives of the British Army objected to the term referring to them.  (Perhaps reminiscent of the suggestive term “camp follower’?)


          The term not only stuck, but in many cases was adopted world-wide and used by specific services, Air Force Brat, Army Brat, Navy Brat, etc.




So now you know how you and/or your kids became known as ____   BRATS.

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