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Military Brat

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Your family feuding with a schoolmate's family is awkward enough, add in Interservice Rivalry and it becomes downright painful.

A Military Brat is exactly what the name implies: someone who grew up with at least one parent in the military. Sometimes both parents. Tends to crop up a lot in American series and works of fiction, particularly in times of Real Life conflicts when it can potentially make for a Reality Subtext, dealing with issues than many military brats might be experiencing in Real Life when their parents deploy.

In fiction, if a character has this as a backstory, you can expect at least one of the following to have affected him or her in some way:

  • Having a very tough, conservative or strict upbringing;
  • Frequent moves and parental absences;
  • Sometimes a parent (often the father) will have died in some war.
  • Lived on a base in a foreign country during their formative years, giving them an excuse for knowing an obscure foreign language or local custom. This might be Germany, Japan, South Korea, etc.
  • Or alternatively, having lived in a part of the U.S. where there is a lot of military infrastructure/installations - which almost invariably means the Deep South, Texas, or Washington, D.C., and never one of the other innumerable places in the US with large military installations (e.g. Fort Dix in New Jersey or, um, pretty much the entire city of San Diego, CA).

While there is definitely a Truth in Television aspect to this trope, it's important to note that:

  • The US military contains several million people at any given time.
  • Of the eight branches, seven have their own unique cultures. The Public Health Service Corps, commanded by the Surgeon General, and the NOAA Corps, who fly airplanes into hurricanes to measure wind-speed, temperature, and barometric pressure, aren't represented in the Pentagon and thus are often overlooked; the US Space Force is represented in The Pentagon, but didn't become a separate branch until 2019 and thus has yet to develop its own culture.
  • Being the child of an officer is different from being the son/daughter of a non-com or an ordinary enlisted man or woman.
  • Military culture changes over time. The US military today is not like it was during Vietnam, which was nothing like it was before World War II.note 
  • Despite the super-conformity image the military has, the people who serve in the military (and their families) still remain individuals with distinctive personalities.

Used often in war movies to explain why a character enlisted; the most common sub-explanation of this is that he wants to make his mother/father proud. A Military Brat may have a child who is, himself a Military Brat.

Despite the name, "brat" is mostly a neutral or even affectionate term, and characters with this background can be all over the place personality-wise. See also Circus Brat, which is sort of the opposite. Is never a Spoiled Brat, and usually dislikes parents who raise children such. Preacher's Kid often share features with this trope, as do missionary kids.

A related but markedly less badass version of this (which rarely appears in fiction) are the Foreign Service brats, whose childhoods were generally twisted by hopping around the world behind their parents. The same holds true for children of spies (said children, however, usually think that the parent is actually in the Foreign Service, some other government department, or occasionally some international corporation). The British word for this is diplobrat.

Military brats, foreign service brats, and missionary kids (though not preacher's kids) all fall within a larger category known as "third culture kids" (TCKs), usually defined as children who, for whatever reason, spend a significant part of their childhood outside their passport country.note  TCKs can also include children of executives of international businesses or NGOs, as well as children of expatriate professional athletes. A notable example of the latter is Kobe Bryant, who spent a significant part of his childhood in Italy while his father was playing basketball in that country.

Naturally comes equipped with Dad the Veteran, even if it was Mom.

In many countries, this trope interleaves heavily with Blue Blood. Armed forces are the traditional career choice of aristocracy, and even today the children of old families of nobility are grossly over-represented in European and Asian forces.

This trope is also Older Than They Think. The Other Wiki calls American Military Brats a "200-year-old subculture". As mentioned, this changed throughout history, but most troops have historically had "Camp Followers" which were made up of the wives and children of the fighting forces, often serving in important behind-the-lines roles such as cooks, nurses, and errand runners. The most famous were probably those families that followed their husbands in Valley Forge, which would make Military Brats in the United States an older culture than the country proper.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Broken Blade's Girge is an ax-crazed Blood Knight example as the son of General Baldr, a fact that ties greatly in their shared backstory.
  • Macross:
  • Very common in Gundam series.
  • Kents in Ginga Hyouryuu Vifam.
  • A very common background in most Mecha Anime. In many cases, it reflects on their character's personality and career choices. An example of this would be Ryoko Subaru and her heavy focus on a military career.
  • In a rare Magical Girl example, many from Lyrical Nanoha, including the second- and third-generation Harlaowns, two of the six Nakajima sisters (the others being adopted in their teens), Vivio Takamachi, etc. Most of them end up perusing careers in the military as well. Although, with the exception of Fate, Chrono, and Griffithnote  all of them were introduced after the series made the Genre Shift to Military Science Fiction (and Fate is downplayed since Lindy entered semi-retirement after adopting her).
  • Misaki from Divergence Eve. After her father dies in battle she joins to find out what he found in the military.
    • Suzanna also joins to follow the family tradition.
  • Sailor Moon: Rio Urawa, Ami's temporary love interest and the human reincarnation of one of the Seven Great Yoma is one of these, hence why he's not around for long.
  • Noriko Takaya in Gunbuster.
  • In Is the Order a Rabbit?, Rize's father is a high-ranking military officer, which is the reason for her Crazy Survivalist tendencies.
  • In New Game!, as Umiko grew up in Okinawa where there is a large amount of US military presence, she gets a liking to anything gun-related. She even gives Aoba a used shotgun shell as a peace offering.

    Comic Books 
  • Lois Lane from most continuities of Superman.
    • Post Silver Age anyway. Prior to that, she was a farm girl with an upbringing very similar to Clark Kent's.
    • Her sister Lucy even more so, since she continues with the whole military thing into her adult life.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Betty Ross, being the daughter of General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, and thusly has been immersed in military culture all her life. Her relationship with Bruce Banner becomes very complicated due to the fact that her father is constantly hunting him.
    • Her father General Thunderbolt Ross as well, his father Alexander Ross was in the army too.
      • Alexander too, since his father Peter Ross was a military man.
  • Rick Flag from Suicide Squad.
  • The modern Batwoman, Kate Kane, is one, along with her twin sister Beth. Their mother was an Army intel officer and their father was a Green Beret, and they lived in Fort Bragg, North Carolina for at least part of their childhood. Kate planned to follow in their footsteps, and was a star cadet at West Point, but resigned after she was accused of violating DADT.
  • Gunn "Gunner" Yage, a TIE pilot from Legacy
  • Ninja Joan Driscoll from Amelia Rules!
  • Vima Sunrider from Tales of the Jedi. Both her parents were Jedi; her mother Nomi was a hero of the Great Sith Wars and is the current Grand Master of the Order. Vima herself grew up during the wars, surrounded by knights and masters.
  • Bucky Barnes spent his formative years on a military base in New Jersey.
  • Hellboy, sort of. He grew up on a USAAF base, though the person he most regards as a father figure is Professor Bruttenholm, who's not a soldier. Consequently he doesn't really fit the mold; he's pretty resistant to authority figures and generally only takes orders out of personal respect.
  • In the third incarnation of Hawk and Dove, Sasha "Hawk" Martinez was an uptight military brat, to contrast with easy-going slacker Wiley "Dove" Wolverman.
  • Wonder Woman: Steve Trevor grew up with two parents in the military, even though WASPs like his mother wouldn't be recognized as veterans until long after the service was disbanded. Steve himself is a noted Air Force pilot and military intelligence officer.
  • Scott 'Cyclops' Summers and his brother Alex A.K.A. Havok likely would have become this under different circumstances, as their father Christopher was a comparatively young career Air Force officer at the time of his apparent death.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Codename: Kids Next Door fanfic Operation:FRAGMENT Patton Drilovsky (AKA Numbuh Sixty) and Rachel McKenzie (AKA Numbuh Three Sixty-two) both have a background as military brats, which have made them close friends after their decommisioning.
    It was the reason Rachel and Patton got along so well. Few people at school understood the life. Their childhoods spent moving from place to place, their fathers being away for long periods of time, having to readjust when their fathers, men they didn't really know, were at home.
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls: As Quincies are a military organization, every Quincy is a soldier, and their children are expected to follow the suit, no matter what branch they chose to join. In modern times, they get a chance to leave and live normal lives, but because their lives consist of training and many lost their parents and other loved ones, most choose to stay and fight the Hollows and Soul Reapers, continuing the tradition. Shadowbolts are skilled and could do well in normal world, they train to be better warriors and soldiers. Case in point, one of them already lost her eyes and the other legs and they are more than ready to continue fighting.
  • Francisco from the Halo fanfic The Life grew up as one.
  • On the Shoulders of Giants picks this origin story for Commander Shepard, though her circumstances are only superficially similar to canon Mass Effect. There are also many, many forks of the source code of famous military AI Petan around, some of whom have gone into the family business and others who... Well, suffice it to say that early experiments with A.I.s reproducing went very, very badly
  • The Translation in Blood is told from the viewpoint of Commander Shepard's mother Hannah Shepard, an infantryman during the First Contact War and a rear admiral by the time of Mass Effect 3, which makes Shepard one of these.
  • Bait and Switch:
    • The viewpoint character, Captain Kanril Eleya, is somewhat of a subversion. Her father and grandfather both fought in the Bajoran Resistance (her grandfather was one of those killed in the Kendra Valley Massacre), but her father didn't join the Bajoran Militia after the Bajorans regained their independence and Eleya wasn't born until eleven years later.
    • From Bajor to the Black:
    • Lieutenant Commander Reshek Gaarra, Eleya's operations officer and Love Interest, says in chapter eight of the original story that his father's in the Bajoran Militia, and is currently the garrison commander on New Bajor. He mentions having his aunt as a Parental Substitute (his mother died when he was two) because Dad had to be out on maneuvers a week out of every month.
  • SAPR: Ciel comes from a long line of people who have served in the Atlesian military and the Mantelian military before that, and she expects that when she has her own children they will follow the exact same career track.
  • Elekai from Junior Officers was a military brat as a child. He and his family moved a lot as a result of thisnote .
  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, Alexandra Mumorovka is a thirteen-year-old Air Watch cadet who is regarded as the outstanding best of her intake. She is the only daughter of a cavalry colonel, and was brought up on an Army base alongside brothers who are all set for military careers. Catching Witchcraft, she is sponsored by Captain Olga Romanoff, who sees her potential as a born flyer and is eventually brought to Ankh-Morpork and the City Air Watch, where she joins its cadet service. Her story is here.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Stepanek, the "dedicated pain-in-the-butt" character, from Down Periscope was the son of Admiral Winslow, and was rebelling... trying to get dismissed from sub duty. No one realizes the connection until it's openly stated at the end of the film, because the son is using his mom's maiden name.
    • Actually, the connection becomes obvious just before it's stated. This is the first time we actually see Stepanek salute, albeit reluctantly. And the uncomfortable way he's standing there is another obvious clue.
  • O-Ren Ishii of Kill Bill was the daughter of a Chinese-American military guy and a Japanese mother. The Bride even refers to her as an "army brat" before going into her story, which had O-Ren's parents killed by Boss Matsumoto and his Yakuza gangsters.
  • Zach Mayo and Sid Worley, from An Officer and a Gentleman
  • Janey Glenn in Girls Just Want to Have Fun is the daughter of Colonel Glenn.
  • The Belmont Sisters from Night of the Comet. Mainly invoked as a Hand Wave as to why two valley girls would know anything about assault rifles.
  • Many of the students in Taps, which makes sense as the film involves the cadet corps of a Military Academy taking over their school. This is played for several dramatic moments as at least one parent, an Army NCO who harbors more than a bit of the Shell-Shocked Veteran, tries desperately to convince his son that his schoolboy version of duty and honor may be slightly misguided. It doesn't end well.
  • Lt. Dan Taylor of Forrest Gump. Notable for his family having served continuously since the American Revolution, and having the patriarch of the family get killed in every major war the United States had fought. He doesn't take it well when Forrest breaks the line by saving his life in Vietnam.
  • Maverick aka Lt. Pete Mitchell in Top Gun. His father was also a navy pilot, who died during the Vietnam War.
    • Top Gun: Maverick: Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, the son of Maverick's old wingman Goose, has followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a navy pilot himself.
  • Topper Harley in Hot Shots!. Naturally, as this was a parody of Top Gun.
  • The protagonist's Token Black Friend in the Disney Channel Original Movie Johnny Tsunami. Part of the friend's problem is his father constantly being reassigned, meaning the guy never feels at home and hesitates to make friends that he's just going to lose during the next move. This serves as a point of commonality between the characters, as Johnny himself has just moved from Hawaii and his surfing grandfather (the titular character). Another problem for the friend is that his father is constantly assigned to cold places, and, at the end of the film, is sent to Iceland.
  • The Disney Channel Original Movie Tiger Cruise is set on a cruise for military families that happens to set sail just before September 11, 2001.
  • Cadet Kelly involves a typical teenage girl's mother re-marrying. The girl is happy until she finds out that her new stepfather is the head of a military school, and she is a new cadet. In this case, she's being turned into this trope (kicking and screaming). Her rival (and commander) Jennifer is a more clear-cut example and reveals at the end that she's moving because of her father's reassignment.
  • In Harm's Way, a 1965 World War II John Wayne drama, features the tensions between Rear Admiral Rock Torrey and his son, Ensign Jeremiah Torrey, as one of the running plots of the film.
  • Remember the Titans: Two of the Titan players, Louie Lastik and Ronnie "Sunshine" Bass, are from naval and army families, respectively. Sunshine's father makes a point of lobbying for his son to join the Titans because they're an integrated team like the military.
  • William Stryker, his father is featured in X-Men: First Class.
  • Pitch Perfect: Aubrey alludes to her father having served in the military. It's implied that this upbringing is why she's such a Control Freak. It's later revealed that her father is a general in the army.
  • Simon Mollison from The Black Balloon (2007) is in the military, and as a result his family Really Moves Around. His son Thomas has been to three primary schools and is now in his second high school.
  • If You Could Say It in Words: Sadie's dad was in the navy. He resigned his commission when she was sixteen. The family then moved to Santa Fe, to Sadie's delight, as she'd lived next to the ocean her entire life and found the desert wonderfully strange.

  • The Great Santini is the Trope Codifier. Since author Pat Conroy was himself the son of a Marine colonel, the book is an accurate depiction of what many military brats go through, but it's worth reiterating that the military is large and varied and the book presents only one aspect of brat life.
  • Rocky Garcia of Bad News Ballet is the daughter of Sergeant Richard Garcia, a strict father who always barks his orders and runs the house like a miniature branch of the military. When any of her or her four older brothers get in trouble, they all get punished, and this can result in being "confined to quarters" (sent to your room) or "KP", which means washing dishes for a week. She lives on the nearby Air Force base, which is where she initially started taking ballet lessons.
  • Kids of older cast members in Star Wars Legends. When Han and Leia's three were really young they were kept in an undisclosed location to be safe, and naturally they followed their parents' and grandparents' courses to various degrees. Of course, neither of their parents were precisely military, but they did tend to be busy a lot. Wedge Antilles's two girls are a better example of the trope. One became an Ace Pilot like her father, the other an Intelligence operative like her mother. Aww.
  • Jack Reacher: The Reacher brothers followed their Marine father from base to base.
  • Several examples in the Honor Harrington series of books, most notably including Admiral Harrington herself (her father being a retired Navy surgeon).
    • Ensign Helen Zilwicki is the daughter of two Naval officers. Her father retired from Naval Intelligence as a Captain and now works for his second (adoptive) daughter, Queen Berry of Torch, as a spymaster. Her mother was a starship captain, who in The Short Victorious War gave her life in battle against a larger force protecting a convoy whose passengers included her husband and daughter.
  • The Vorkosigans in Vorkosigan Saga. It is part of being Vor.
  • The Whistler family of A Brother's Price is descended from soldiers-turned-thieves-turned-spies. The original Whistlers involved in the War of the False Eldest numbered thirty, but only ten survived to marry and become the grandmothers of the current crop. They passed a lot on to their children. Eldest Whistler, their oldest grandchild, expresses an interest in helping the Queens' Justice, a kind of army branch, due to her upbringing.
  • The Yokota Officers Club by Sarah Bird is in the same vein as The Great Santini, as a semi-autobiographical story about the child of a military officer (in this case, an Air Force fighter pilot) and the life she lives.
  • Possibly one of the reasons Dr. Watson and Mary Morstan hit it off so fast in The Sign of the Four — Watson, an ex-soldier, is exceptionally impressed with Mary's no-nonsense, stiff upper lip demeanor that she acquired from her way of life.
  • Henry Reed from the Henry Reed Inc series is a Foreign Service Brat spending summers in the US with relatives.
  • Applies to a number of the upper-class characters, and some not so upper-class, in the Village Tales series: Lady Agatha's father was an admiral RN; the Duke and his brother were born and grew up when their father was a serving brigadier who hadn't yet succeeded to the dukedom; old Lord Mallerstang's father was a VC of the Great War and a brevet Lt-Col (although this is slightly subverted, in that Hugo Mallerstang was posthumously born; he was however raised in a military environment nevertheless).
  • Sandokan has Marianna, born to civilian parents but raised by her uncle, a captain of the Royal Navy, and Ada Corishant, daughter of an officer in the Indian Army. It's a plot point that Marianna being the kind of girl that goes on a tiger hunt and has a good chance of being the one who scores the kill is the result of her uncle taking her with him when he cruised the Indian Ocean to hunt down pirates.
  • The Heroes: Finree's father is Lord Marshal Kroy, and she's spent her life in military encampments around military men, so she often knows the business of war better than some of the officers. Her bold and haughty demeanor often has her trying to bully and cajole her father's officers into taking various actions.
  • Emily from Dogs Don't Talk is the daughter of a Marine. Her family Really Moves Around very irregularly, sometimes staying in the same place for only a few months. She copes with the instability by sticking her nose in a book. Just as she's starting a relationship with Ben, she's moved again.
  • Bazil Broketail:
    • Manuel comes from a family known for its long military tradition and his many ancestors served in elite and respectable units... which is why his father did not take it well when he decided to become a lowly dragonboy.
    • It is implied that Hollein comes from a family with long military tradition — at least we know his grandfather is a respected and decorated general for sure. Hollein isn't happy about that, though, since it means he has a lot to live up to. Also, there are many detractors within the legions (even his own unit) who claim that he got his current position due to his grandfather's backing.
  • Underdogs: Ewan's father, Major George West, taught him fighting and survival skills that served him well as a member of La Résistance.
  • Terry from Twelve Days grew up on a series of army bases with his widower father, moving every couple years. When he was fifteen, a tae kwon do instructor in Dallas implanted a kundalini trap, planning to remove it in a few months. But Terry's father moved before he had time, meaning that Terry lived for over two decades with the block until Gupta finally helps him remove it.
  • Breaking Point (2002): Prior to Paul's parents getting a divorce, the family had to move around a lot because his dad is in the army, which his mom grew tired of.
  • The Mer: Will's dad was in the Navy. He was lonely as a child because his father was always deployed, his mother was dead, and his brother was at military school. He came to see his transformation into a Mer as a good thing because his clan became his family.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5. Jeffrey Sinclair. According to his backstory, he comes from a family of them: The tradition of Military Brats started with pilots in the Battle of Britain, making that family tradition 318 years old.
    • Michael Garibaldi, the chief of security, is the son of Alfredo Garibaldi, an Earth Force Marine who served under General Richard Franklin, the father of Babylon 5's chief medical officer Doctor Stephen Franklin.
  • The Closer: Brenda Leigh Johnson is the daughter of a military man. In an early episode of the first season, her lifelong conditioning to follow orders given by this type of man leads to her losing the case.
  • ER's Michael Gallant was one and eventually joined the Army himself. During a conversation with his mother, his wife Neela is startled to learn that she's actually quite bitter about the years she spent packing up and moving to follow his career and worried about what this means for their marriage. Sadly, he's killed in action before this can ever become an issue.
  • Fringe: Olivia Dunham's stepfather was in the Army. On at least one occasion she had to defend her mother from him at gunpoint, which shows how early the toughening up started.
  • Home Improvement: Jill Taylor can even drive a tank and likes chipped beef on toast.
  • House: Gregory House's father was a Marine, and everything about House can be explained by that fact:
    • House being a Jerkass: His strict upbringing at the hands of his father (baths in ice water, having to sleep outside of the house, not being allowed to eat dinner if he was so much as a few seconds late) had a definite bad effect on his attitude. It also gave House his issues with authority.
    • House becoming a doctor: While his father was stationed in Japan, he saw a man at a hospital he thought was a janitor. Then he saw the doctors hanging on his every word when they were faced with a difficult case. Turns out, he was a buraku, and was listened to because he was right. This made it much easier for House to justify being a Dr. Jerk.
    • House's distrust of claimed sexual fidelity: He figured out that he wasn't John House's biological son when he was twelve.
      • The real problem was not that House's father was a Marine, it was that he treated his son like a recruit instead of a son. The fact that House wasn't his biological son doesn't excuse that.
  • iCarly: Spencer and Carly Shay are this, as their dad, Steven, is an Air Force Colonel—while their dad's stationed overseas, Spencer and Carly live in Seattle, Washington with the former acting as the latter's legal guardian (since Spencer's thirteen years older than Carly).Carly ends up playing this trope in the Series Finale, when her dad is transferred to a base in Italy and, with encouragement from her friends and Spencer, chooses to go to Italy with Colonel Shay.
  • JAG: By the bucketful.
    • Harmon Rabb is a Generation Xerox example (right down to his dad looking identical to him in flashbacks, plus a mustache). His dad being shot down during The Vietnam War and declared MIA forms a central part of Rabb's character arc as he tries to find out what happened to him. This culminates in this trope being played again when Harm discovers thathis father escaped captivity in Russia, fell in love with a Roma woman, and fathered a son who later joined the Russian military as a pilot.
    • Also the case with most of the rest of the cast - Mac's biggest influence was her Medal of Honor recipient Marine uncle, Bud's father was a Master Chief (and he himself fathers four kids of his own with Harriet, also a naval officer), Sturgis' father is a retired Navy Chaplain, and Maj. Gen. Cresswell's daughter is attending the Academy by the time the series ends. Of the main cast members, Chegwidden is the only one who isn't stated to be a military brat or the parent of one.
    • In one episode, JAG also had to locate a former soldier who apparently kidnapped his son. According to the son, the son was a military brat. It gets a bit convoluted when the ending heavily implies that the son was actually the reincarnation of his father's best friend who was killed in action back in The Vietnam War.
  • Averted to her displeasure in the case of Kate Austen from Lost. Her mother divorced Army Ranger Sam Austen and married the abusive Wayne Jansson early in Kate's life, so Kate never had a military upbringing. She does have a warmer relationship with Austen, though. This despite his not being her biological father.
  • The sitcom Major Dad was more-or-less based around this trope, with the eponymous Major having to adjust to his new lifestyle after marrying a woman with three daughters.
  • M*A*S*H: Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, her father even makes an appearance in one of the episodes.
  • Nashville: Juliette Barnes is established as one in "All Or Nothing With Me" (making it the second MB to be played by Hayden Panettiere, as she was one in Tiger Cruise as well).
  • NCIS Agent Timothy Farragut McGee is a navy brat, courtesy of his admiral father. His Embarrassing Middle Name even comes from the USS Farragut.
  • Saved by the Bell: A.C. Slater, although it wasn't brought up very often, aside from his father pressuring him to join.
  • Sesame Street: Believe it or not, Elmo qualifies as "Military Kid". A series of videos produced to help children whose parents are deployed established that Elmo's dad Louie is "away helping people", with the implication that he's in the military.
  • Smallville: Lois Lane, in keeping with the tradition from the Post-Crisis comics, is the daughter of US Army General Sam Lane, and it is evident that her military upbringing had a big impact on her personality and on the show's plot, as the skills she learned and connections she made often help to move the plot forward.
  • Stargate SG-1: Samantha Carter, daughter of Major General Jacob Carter.
    • This is lampshaded in an episode where alternate Carter and Kowalski arrive from another reality. This Carter never joined the military (and was able to marry Jack). Dr. Carter mentions how she can't imagine joining the military. Capt. Carter mentions how she can't imagine not joining the military, clearly referring to her father.
  • Star Trek: Since the franchise focuses on Starfleet, there are plenty of Starfleet brats.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: James Kirk's parents were both in Starfleet. In one timeline, he's born moments before his father is killed in battle.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • The Enterprise-D is designed to accommodate families, making it full of Starfleet brats of all ages. Captain Picard, who is uncomfortable around children, is less than thrilled.
      • Wesley Crusher is raised in Starfleet, even helping man the Enterprise before he even joins its ranks, though he eventually joins the Traveler to explore other planes of existence. However, he returns to Starfleet sometime afterward.
      • Geordi La Forge is explicitly described as a "Starfleet brat", with both parents in the service, who rather enjoyed his wandering childhood. (Actor-Shared Background: LeVar Burton was a real-life Army brat, so La Forge's Starfleet Brat childhood may have been a character aspect addition by the character's actor.). In the alternate future from "All Good Things...", Geordi has a son who's applying to Starfleet Academy.
      • Worf's adopted human father, Sergey Rozhenko was a Starfleet enlisted man, who is very proud of his officer son. His biological father, Mogh, served in the Klingon Defense Force.
      • Chief Miles O'Brien has a daughter, Molly, born in the episode "Disaster", when the Enterprise lost power after passing through a quantum filament. Due to the situation, Worf had to help Keiko deliver her. Years later, after transferring to Deep Space Nine, O'Brien has a son, Kirayoshi, born in more bizarre circumstances (after Keiko was injured, the O'Briens' son was transplanted into Major Kira, having her serve as surrogate mother for the remainder of the pregnancy).
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • Jake Sisko's father, Capt. Benjamin Sisko, is in Starfleet and he was raised on the eponymous Starfleet space station, though he becomes a novelist instead of joining Starfleet.
      • General Martok's family had served the Klingon Empire as soldiers for 15 generations. Martok tried to join the defense force as an officer but Kor refused to allow him to join as one even though he passed the entrance examination. With the "Mark of Kor" on his record he couldn't even join as an elisted man and had to serve as a civilian laborer on a ship until the ship was boarded by Romulans and Martok earned a field commission that day. Martok still nursed a huge grudge against Kor because Martok's father didn't live long enough to see it.
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • Tom Paris, a less than ideal admiral's son.
      • Kathryn Janeway, also an admiral's daughter, though considerably less rebellious.
      • Tie-in novels state that B'Elanna Torres' father was a human Starfleet engineer (thus partially invoking Generation Xerox), who fell in love with her Klingon mother while deployed on space duty.
      • Recurring characters with the Brat background include Naomi Wildman, the daughter of Ensign Samantha Wildman, one of the Science Department ensigns, who is actually born aboard Voyager.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: Malcolm Reed, whose family has been in the Royal Navy for three generations. Interestingly, his father is disappointed in Malcolm choosing Starfleet instead of the Royal Navy.
    • Star Trek: Picard: By the early 25th century, Geordi La Forge has two daughters, Sidney and Alandra, who are serving in Starfleet.
  • We Are Who We Are. Fraser's colonel mother subverts the stereotype by having *wildly* overindulged him, to the point of tolerating abusive behavior from him to her but Caitlin's dad plays the trope straight.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?:
  • Strong Medicine: Dr. Andy Campbell. And given that she joined the Army herself, that makes her daughters this as well.
  • The X-Files.
    • Dana Scully is a self-described Navy brat; likewise her three siblings Bill Jr., Charlie, and Melissa. However, they don't fit any of the typical stereotypes of being military brats. It isn't implied that Scully's upbringing was especially strict, though perhaps morally so as she was raised a devout Catholic. It's inferred that she moved around a lot as a child, though the only place we know her father was stationed was at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego—the same place her older brother Bill Jr. is stationed in "Emily." It's also known that the Scully family was in Japan in 1966, but it's unclear whether it was a visit or they were stationed there.
    • Dana's nephew Matthew is a military brat due to having a father in the Navy.
  • Captain Parminter in F Troop and Ensign Parker in McHale's Navy: both are hopeless schlubs from illustrious military families who are nevertheless bound and determined to somehow carry on their families' tradition of service.
  • Gabriel Vaughn of Intelligence mentions in an early episode that he's the fifth generation of Vaughns to go off to fight for his country, but the first one to come back.
  • Nicole in FlashForward (2009), which explains her plot-convenient knowledge of the Japanese language.
  • Poussey from Orange Is the New Black is a daughter of a soldier, and the constant moving has destroyed her relationships. When we see her backstory in Season 2, she is busted for having a lesbian affair with the daughter of a German officer while her father was stationed in Europe. In a Bait-and-Switch moment, it appears as if she is going to murder the officer for forcing her dad to transfer home to the US, but her father intervenes.
  • Battlestar Galactica (1978) Commander Adama has these two children working on his spaceship: Captain Apollo, and Ensign Athena.
  • We Are Who We Are: Fraser and Caitlin both come from military families. Both his moms are soldiers, while Cailtin's dad is too (one of Fraser's moms has become his CO). Fraser meets Caitlin when he comes to the base with his moms, while Caitlin's already been there for some time.

  • The Finnish military march Sotilaspoika (Soldier Boy) whose lyrics describe the protagonist's father who was killed in action. The lyrics reveal that his forefathers have been soldiers in four generations. The last verse implies when the boy makes 15, he too will enlist.
  • In The Wall Pink is a Military Brat. Which is not surprising as Pink is largely based on band member Roger Waters, whose father died as a soldier in World War II.
  • All three members of the band "America were Military Brata, who met in school in the UK when their parents were serving overseas. In fact, Dewey Bunnell was born in the UK. They often credited their success to their families peripatetic lifestyle. In a slight aversion, all the band members say that their parents were friendly and easy-going when it came to discipline, but their schooling more than made up for it!

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000 the majority of the students at the Schola Progeniums are the orphaned sons and daughters of officers in the Imperial Guard or Navy. Since the program is the source of all Commissars and Stormtroopers this means that the majority of them were military brats who also joined the military (the Schola explicitly trains all its graduates towards some type of government work, with various forms of military service being a common vocational path the faculty selects for students after putting them through a career assessment test).
  • Rogue Trader has Battlefleet as an option for a character's home world representing a character who is a child of a Battlefleet officer and grew up on board a naval ship.

    Video Games 
  • Ernest the Demobird from Battleborn comes from a family of soldiers.
  • Rinoa Heartilly in Final Fantasy VIII. As one can imagine, her joining a resistance movement to oppose the military in which her father is a general makes things tense.
  • In Growing Up, Bobbie moves around a lot because her parents work in the military.
  • Halo:
    • Commander Miranda Keyes is the daughter of the famous Captain Jacob Keyes and Doctor Catherine Halsey. While Dr.Halsey was not technically a part of the military, she did work extensively with them in the development of a number of special warfare projects such as the Spartan-II program and Project Mjolnir.
    • Other examples include Edward Buck whose mother was a Marine, Olympia Vale whose mother was a Naval Captain, Sergeant John Forge's family who have been soldiers since World War II, Kat-B320 who was raised for a time by her retired Army general grandmother, and Gabriel Throne who was born to a pair of Army troopers.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Commander Shepard can be one if you choose the "Spacer" background. It's the only background choice where Shepard isn't an orphan, as the background-specific sidequest reveals that Shepard's mother is alive and still serving with the Alliance as the Executive Officer aboard an Alliance Dreadnought. By the second game, she is the Captain of her own ship, and in the third, she has been promoted to Rear Admiral after surviving the initial Reaper invasion and is now serving directly under Admiral Steven Hackett. Shepard's Father is also mentioned as a military officer in this background but is never mentioned again beyond the opening line.
    • Ashley Williams is also one and talks extensively about her family, both because it's a tradition stretching back several generations and because they were unfairly maligned after the First Contact War. This is because Ashley's Grandfather, who was a General commanding the Marine garrison defending the colony of Shanxi, was forced to surrender to the Turian invaders due to low supplies, numerous civilian and military casualties from turian orbital bombardment, and no immediate aid or reinforcements. As a result, he gained the reputation of being the first and only human to ever surrender to Aliens and turned into a national pariah. This was made worse by the fact that the aftermath of the war created a very prevalent anti-alien culture in the Alliance.note 
    • This is actually standard for the Turians, as they're Space Romans with significant emphasis on merit and duty. Every citizen is either a member of the military or a reserve member that can be called back into service at any time. All able-bodied individuals are conscripted into the military at the age of 15. (Implied to be the turian age of legal adulthood) They then serve for 15 years until they reach 30, at which point they have the choice of either remaining in the military or leaving to do something else but becoming a reservist. Garrus Vakarian is no exception, as his father was a military officer who is implied to have been a pretty high rank based on his close ties to the turian Primarch (Supreme Commander/Commander-in-Chief) and was also a distinguished Citadel Security officer, and although we never get a specific rank, the third game does reveal that Garrus is also a very high-ranking officer when there are Generals saluting him. It's also heavily implied during the war against the Reapers that he is very close to being the next Primarch should the current one die.
    • Also applies to Tali'Zorah whose father, Rael'Zorah, was an Admiral in the Quarian Migrant Fleet. Although Rael ends up dying in Tali's Loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2, she eventually takes over his position as Admiral by the time of Mass Effect 3.
  • Meryl of Metal Gear Solid has been raised by the army to the point that she felt more comfortable with a gun than a bra, which may also explain why keeping a Desert Eagle magazine in her cleavage isn't a discomfort.
    • Fortune in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty counts as well.
      • Also Olga Gurlukovich from the same game, and similar to the LET children, she was probably closer to a literal one (it's hinted a few times in the game that she participated in various conflicts as a Child Soldier with her father's unit).
    • Don't forget Ocelot, who is the son of two legendary soldiers, The Boss and The Sorrow.
    • Solid, Liquid, and Solidus Snake were also military brats in the most literal sense. They were the clones of the legendary soldier, Big Boss. It was also implied, in the source material and in Peace Walker, that they were also raised by the military from a very early age.
    • Kazuhira/McDonnel Benedict Miller was also revealed to be one. Well, kind of. He was basically conceived when his father, a GHQ officer under Whitney, ended up sleeping with a Japanese woman who had to undergo prostitution in order to survive, and his father left before he was even born.
  • Mortal Kombat has three:
    • Sonya Blade qualifies, as her dad was also in the service.
    • Cassandra Cage and Jacqueline Briggs as well, given who their parents are.
  • Overwatch: Fareeha Amari, later known by the callsign Pharah, due to her mother's service in the Egyptian armed forces, and later Overwatch itself. Fareeha herself joined the Egyptian armed forces as well and later became a security officer in a private company. In-game, she has brief interactions with her mother and others which indicate that mother and daughter were alienated from each other in the past but want to patch things up.
  • Kitty from Psychonauts is this according to her Campster page. Her dad is in the navy and she's lived in six different countries.
  • The protagonist of Sentimental Graffiti met the girls he did because his father was in the military and moved him around a lot as a result.
  • The Sims 2 features a pre-made playable family called Grunt, which has not only three Military Brats (two teen and one elementary-school-age) but a training facility in the backyard. They definitely have a strict father, but don't fit the "moving around" as the Sim military never seems to go much of anywhere.
  • Star Trek Online has a number of background characters who are the children of Starfleet officers from the various live-action series.
    • Lieutenant Kirayoshi O'Brien, chief engineer of the USS Enterprise-F, is the son of SCPO. Miles O'Brien, former chief of operations at Deep Space 9. Meanwhile, the Enterprise's XO, Commander Samuel Winters, has Starfleet as the family business going back several generations (so much so that he's quick to deny that nepotism was involved in him getting the assignment to the Federation flagship).
    • Commander Naomi Wildman, C.O. of Deep Space K-7, is the grown-up version of the same Naomi Wildman who was a little kid born to a crew member of USS Voyager in Star Trek: Voyager's second season.
    • Lieutenant Miral Paris, security chief of the USS Kirk, is the daughter of Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres, both part of USS Voyager's command crew and born in the last episode of VOY.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater:
    • According to Private Carrera's bio from Pro Skater 2, she is an "army brat" from the USA. The first game listed her as being from Fort Worth, while 2 seems to retcon her as being from Roswell, NM. Also, her outfit in Pro Skater 3 makes her resemble a Navy officer.
  • Lilly in The Walking Dead is the daughter of Larry, who used to be a soldier in the army. Being raised by a hardass father with a no-nonsense attitude, Lilly is shown to be very assertive and tries to take charge of the group when things go sour, though her being bossy and generally unpleasant causes heated tensions to brew between her and the rest of the group.
  • In What Remains of Edith Finch, Sam having been a soldier heavily influences his way of raising his children. For example, their childrens' room looks like a barracks.

  • Captain Tagon of Schlock Mercenary.
  • In anti-HEROES, the backstory of Aldran, one of the main characters, is revealed in a strip entitled... Military Brat.
  • In the Modern Arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space, Arthur's foster-father Ector is an ex-serviceman (who gets called back up for Iraq), and both his son Kay and other foster-child Bedivere follow in his footsteps. Arthur doesn't, possibly because he's been influenced just as much by his Hippy Teacher, Merlin (and also because Ector knows he has a Destiny). (Although Ector doesn't appear to be unusually strict or conservative, it's implied Uther was, and the only Flash Back to Contemporary!Uther shows him in military uniform, making Arthur an Army Brat twice.)
  • Sigrun Eide of Stand Still, Stay Silent has a pair of Norwegian Army generals as her parents, and as a result has grown up surrounded by all things military and went on to become a captain by the time the webcomic's story starts.
  • Both Sarah and Bella from Ennui GO! have fathers who served in the army. Sarah's is a retired colonel, and Bella's lost an arm in Vietnam (his rank is never specified).

    Web Original 
  • In v2-v4 of Open Blue, freshly graduated Espartanos are frequently assigned to a "parent", and pretend to be Military Brats accompanying said "parents" on a tour of duty in the New World. As of v5, the tykebomb concept has been recycled and they now accompany corporate executives instead.
  • Hank Declan (Lancer) from the Whateley Universe.
  • Off the Page and into Life is about the reincarnations of literary characters in a Wacky Homeroom. So instead of having John Watson, ex-Afghanistan soldier, they have John Williams, son of an Afghanistan casualty.
  • The titular character of The Saga of Tuck qualifies, though their father emphasizes his life after the military a lot more.
  • In Barbie Vlog, Barbie's friend Harper mentions that she often moved from place to place because her father is a soldier.
  • Dolph from Camp Camp was raised on a German army base, which left him with some... interesting characteristics.

    Western Animation 
  • Trixie from American Dragon: Jake Long, both her parents are pilots. Her father military, her mother commercial airliner.
  • Molly of Denali: Trini's father Daniel used to be in the Coast Guard. Her mother Joy, who is mostly absent, is part of the Army Reserve and is a peacekeeper for the United Nations.
  • Gus Griswald in Recess. Secondary character "Corn Chip Girl" LaMaize is a Navy brat. Griswold and Corn Chip Girl's respective fathers apparently had a bitter rivalry that almost prevented the two from becoming friends before TJ convinced them into putting aside their feud so they could allow Gus and Corn Chip Girl to be friends, although it's hinted afterwards that even with their children becoming friends, they still retained a slight rivalry (they were seen arguing about whose children should visit whose house for playtime).
    • Spinelli's mother was also implied to be a military brat (Spinelli, when learning that her parents also embarrassed her all the time, expressed shock because her maternal grandpa was a Navy SEAL).
      • Actually it's pretty much considered a lie. Spinelli confesses that she lied about her parents being secret agents to the gang to make them seem more impressive. Her mother then says she did the same thing with her father. Spinelli had been told he was a navy seal but her mother's reaction makes it clear that this was a lie that she'd told Spinelli to make him seem cooler.
      • Of course the stinger for that episode seems to indicate the Spinellis ARE secret agents, their daughter just doesn't known it yet, so things may be up in the air on that one.
  • Tangled: The Series: Being the adoptive daughter of the Captain of the Guard of the Reign of Corona, Cassandra, a twenty-something woman, address her father like a superior, and calls him soldier to show him affection.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: One of the two main leads, Ensign Beckett Mariner, is the daughter of Captain Carol Freeman, the commanding officer of the U.S.S Cerritos. Her father is also a Starfleet Admiral.

    Real Life 
  • General Douglas MacArthur, son of General Arthur MacArthur, veteran of the Philippine-American War, Spanish-American War, and the American Civil War, as well as being an early Military Governor of the Philippines.
  • By the same token, John McCain, who was actually John Sidney McCain III and was born on a military base in the Panama Canal Zone—John S. McCain I and II were both four-star Admirals in the US Navy, and he followed them into a naval career as a naval pilot.
    • His son John Sidney "Jack" McCain IV graduated from the Naval Academy in 2009, making for four generations of naval officers in the McCain family. That said, Jack doesn't quite qualify as a Navy Brat, as his father had been a Congressman for four years by the time he was born, and took the seat in the Senate that he held until his death in 2018 before Jack's first birthday.
  • Astronaut Michael Collins (born in Rome to a U.S. military attache)
  • Julianne Moore
  • Mia Hamm, former US Women's soccer player.
  • Victoria Prinicipal (born in Japan)
  • John Denver (born at Roswell!)
  • Dee Dee Ramone of The Ramones. Born in Germany.
  • James Dorton
  • Michael Strahan (born in Houston, but spent a large portion of his childhood on a military base in Germany)
  • Jim Morrison
  • Danny Elfman
  • Pam Grier
  • Mark Hamill
  • Swoosie Kurtz (named for her father's airplane)
  • Patton Oswalt
  • Priscilla Presley
  • Debby Ryan
  • Jeri Ryan
  • Robert Griffin III (born on Okinawa). Bonus points in that both of his parents were in the US Army.
  • Norman Schwarzkopf. Although born in New Jersey, he spent much of his youth in Iran, where his father, Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr., was a senior military advisor to the Iranian government and the CIA. note 
  • Bruce Willis (born in Germany)
  • Cage
  • Stewart Copeland grew up in Lebanon because his father was a CIA officer.
  • NBA center Shaquille O'Neal.
  • Shawn Michaels.
  • Robin Olds, son of Major General Robert Olds. Somewhat ironically, Robert Olds was a strong proponent of bomber doctrine as the cornerstone of Air Force strategy, while his son would achieve fame as a fighter ace (both of them served in World War II).
  • LeVar Burton (born in Germany).
  • Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth.
  • Michael Stipe.
  • Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley, and Dan Peek of America. All three were the sons of US Air Force personnel, with Bunnell having been born in England. They met at a London-area high school for American military dependents.
  • Queensrÿche's long-time singer, Geoff Tate. Talking to his father about his experiences serving in World War II and Korea led to the making of the band's critically-acclaimed album An American Soldier.
  • Kane (born in Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain)
  • Michael J. Fox (Canadian military brat)
  • Glenn Howerton (born in Japan)
  • Piper Curda
  • Doug Walker calls himself a Navy brat in a video where he shared a story about losing his passport. He was born in Naples, Italy.
  • This trope is known as "Aramco Brat" for those who grew up in overseas company towns run by energy companies (mainly the Saudi Aramco Residential Camp in Dhahran).
  • Common in Europe. For the matter of that Military Brat is almost the definition of "aristocrat".
    • A uniquely multinational European military brat is now-retired NFL offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva. He was born in Mississippi to a Spanish Navy family attached to NATO and attended a US-run high school in Belgium for NATO brats before going to West Point and taking a commission in the US Army.
  • Theodore Roosevelt III, son of Theodore Roosevelt, served in World War I and World War II. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Utah Beach with the first wave of troops on D-Day but died of a heart attack a month later before the medal was presented.
    • In turn, all three of his sons served in the armed forces. Quentin Roosevelt II, Theodore Roosevelt IV, and Cornelius V.S. Roosevelt III all served in World War II.
  • Daffney Unger was born on a U.S. military base in Germany.
  • Ken Shamrock was born at Robins Air Force Base in Macon, GA.
  • Beau Willimon, creator of the political thrillers The Ides of March and House of Cards, is a Navy brat, born in Alexandria, VA, and raised on all kinds of Navy bases. That said, his dad retired from the Navy to be a lawyer in St. Louis when Willimon was just a child.
  • The Lets Player raocow attributes his bilingualism to the fact that he had to move home a lot in his youth, as a result of his father being in the military. He claims that, while he mostly attended French-speaking schools, he grew up in largely English-speaking neighbourhoods.
  • Children brought up in British military garrisons are known by the not-wholly-derogatory nickname of barracks rats. There is a difference in culture between children of private soldiers, NCO's and officers. When the British armed forces were much larger than they are now, whole public schools note  remained solvent purely by accepting as boarders the sons and daughters of military officers stationed outside the UK. Famous former barracks rats include:
    • Tim Curry: son of a Royal Navy ship's chaplain;
    • Pete Doherty, jailbird, druggie, and when on parole, a singer: son of a British Army officer;
    • Adrian Edmondson: son of a Royal Army Educational Corps teacher;
    • Dawn French: (Royal Air Force) barracks rat;
    • Miranda Hart: (Royal Navy), whose father survived the sinking of his ship in the Falklands War;
    • Bob Marley: his father served in the Royal Marines prior to Jamaican independence;
    • Al Murray, stand-up comedian, son of a Parachute Regiment officer;
    • Spike Milligan, brought up in an oddly privileged way, as one of two sons of the Regimental Sergeant-Major of a Royal Artillery unit based in India: local conditions meant on an RSM's salary, his parents could afford servants and a large house and live in some luxury.
    • Jennifer Saunders, like Dawn French, a barracks-rat;
    • Tilda Swinton: daughter of a Major-General;
  • Guy Pearce
  • AJ Styles
  • Peter Sarsgaard
  • Chris Cooper
  • Amy Adams was born on a military base in Vicenza, Italy
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Scott Hall
  • Reese Witherspoon
  • Marcia Gay Harden
  • Bill Cosby
  • Malcolm McDowell
  • Elton John – Though his father was an RAF officer, he doesn't quite qualify as a barracks rat because he was mostly raised by his maternal grandparents.
  • NASCAR driver Aric Almirola was born at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, FL.
  • Andy Partridge (born in Malta)
  • Donovan Patton, aka Joe from Blue's Clues, was born on a U.S. military base in Guam.
  • Green Day drummer Tré Cool was born in Germany to a U.S. military father who served in the Vietnam War as a helicopter pilot.
  • Markiplier's father was an officer who was serving in South Korea, which is where he met Mark's mother.


Video Example(s):


Air Force Museum

Reenie Green mentions that she's the daughter of a military officer, which is why she's visiting an Air Force museum in Pine Grove. She later tells Colter that he didn't ask.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / MilitaryBrat

Media sources: