A military family all their own

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jenay Randolph
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
To highlight the important role children play in the Armed Forces community, April was established as the Month of the Military Child. There are approximately two million military children, ranging in ages from newborn to 18 years-old; 1.3 million military children are school-aged. Care of military children sustains our fighting force, and strengthens the health, security, and safety of our nation's families and communities.

The Baldwin children are a part of those two million military children. The Baldwin family consists of Tech. Sgt. Shane Baldwin, Staff Sgt. Lia Baldwin, Adrian and Julian, along with Xavia and Quincton, who are children from a previous marriage. Shane is the assistant NCO in charge of customer service and supply and Lia is a unit deployment manager for the 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Most might think that for the parents it is challenging, but what about the children? How does military life affect them?

"Being a military child is challenging because everything that we deal with as parents they go through as children," expressed Shane and Lia. "From deployments to exercises, permanent changes of stations, extended work hours, volunteering and professional military enhancement, we don't get a lot of time with our children."

The Baldwin's agree that the military lifestyle is better for their children because of all the resources that are offered to military families and children.

Although they might be set up better for success, military children deal with things that the many children might not. Xavia, eight, and Quincton, seven, have been to four different bases while Adrian, four, and Julian, two, have been to two different bases.

"Everywhere we go we have structure and a routine," expressed Lia. "The children have to try to adapt every time we come to a new place and that can be difficult."

For military members, structure and discipline are engrained in their lives daily, which are then instilled into their children.

"My two oldest children live with their mother and attend public schools, and it is a transition for them when they come to visit during the summer and some holidays," stated Shane. "Our household is conducted differently and it takes them a couple of weeks to adjust, which can be hard for them as well."

The younger children might not quite understand the importance and the challenges that come with being a military child, but as they grow they develop a better understanding.

"My two oldest understand a little bit more because it effects them," stated Shane. "My visitation with them is sometimes effected by deployments, extended hours, exercises, and PCSing."

Without a doubt, every child and every family has their struggles whether they are military or not, but celebrating children will always be a good thing.

When asked why military children should be celebrated, the Baldwin's stated that "As military members, we are asked to put service before self and our children pay for that.

We don't have as much time with our family; we don't get to spend as much one-on-one time as we would like to which makes it is a lot harder on them. They should be celebrated every day."

In honor of MOMC, MacDill AFB kicked off their celebration April 3, 2015, with the signing of the proclamation and a parade. Vincent Jackson, a military child and wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, came out to show his support to the military children like himself, as the grand marshal in the parade.

"I love being able to go and have that parent and child interaction, walking with them during the parade, while seeing the smiles on their faces," expressed Shane and Lia. "Also, we just love being able to let them know that we could not be wearing this uniform and serving without their support and sacrifice."