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Being a Military Child: How difficult can it be?

The Rojas family on vacation at Seaworld, August, 2017.

The Rojas family on vacation at Seaworld, August, 2017. U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Alvaro Rojas returned from his deployment early because his wife U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Audrye Rojas received orders to Korea for a three week exercise. (Courtesy photo from Alvaro Rojas)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The answer is: harder than most can imagine. Being a child of a service member means being faced with more than your typical childhood stresses and hardships - unexpected deployments and moves, new friends every few years and the ever dreaded question of “Where are you from?”

April is dedicated to celebrating the resiliency of military children and has been deemed “Month of the Military Child.” This month is used to encourage them, celebrate their strength in overcoming challenges and remember the sacrifices they make. We see these children every day in our community, and one particular child at Altus Air Force Base, Chloe Rojas, shows us how strong military children can be.

Both of Chloe’s parents, Tech. Sgt. Alvaro Rojas and Master Sgt. Audrye Rojas are stationed at Altus Air Force Base. Moving is part of life for a military child and Chloe is no stranger to constant change. Just this past year, the Rojas family received orders to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., so they began to prepare their family of three for a simple move. However, unsurprisingly for anyone in the military, plans changed when Chloe’s father, Tech. Sgt. Alvaro Rojas, quality assurance evaluator assigned to the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron, received short-notice orders to deploy in 10 days. It came time to pick up the pace and adapt to the family’s new plans, including selling their home in Altus.

With their permanent change of station (PCS) to North Carolina nearing, Master Sgt. Audrye Rojas, readiness NCO assigned to the 97th Force Support Squadron, put the house on the market. Within two days, it sold, giving Chloe and her mom only 20 days to move their belongings somewhere temporarily. The two would have to wait in Altus for a couple more months until Alvaro returned and the family could continue with their original plans of moving to North Carolina.
Unbeknownst to them, the Air Force had other plans. Chloe was about to be left in Altus with neither parent because Audrye unexpectedly received orders to Korea for three weeks of training. Her departure date was two weeks before Alvaro would be home, once again testing Chloe’s ability to adapt at a moment’s notice.

“When you have a mil-to-mil couple, situations like this happen more than we would like it to,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christie Kidder, Airmen and Family Readiness NCO in charge assigned to the 97th FSS. “Audrye’s father, [Chloe’s grandfather], was going to watch [Chloe] until her [dad] got back, but luckily, Alvaro Rojas was sent home early. It was nice because they got to spend some time together as a family again before [Audrye] had to leave.”

This is not the first time Chloe has felt the repercussions of her parents being called to leave in support of the Air Force mission.

“Audrye and I deployed while Chloe was young and she didn’t fully understand what was happening,” said Alvaro Rojas. “She is a lot older now and it was hard for her to say goodbye to me. Luckily while I was gone it didn’t affect her too badly and she didn’t have any trouble at home or school. She actually had all A’s. This whole process has been a rollercoaster for her because it went from we are moving, to dad’s going away, to we are temporarily moving, to mom’s leaving, then dad’s coming home. It’s been a lot of adjustments for her and it didn’t really hit her until after we dropped Audrye off at the airport and left.”

Through the rollercoaster that is the life of a military child, Chloe has kept her grades up, remained active with friends and adapted to the coming and going of her two parents. Although Chloe is happy to have her dad home, the family looks forward to being together again.

"The military child's flower is a dandelion," said Kidder. "The dandelion, like a military child, can put their roots anywhere and they are almost impossible to destroy."

Its children like Chloe that prove how difficult being a military child can be. Their strength, resiliency and positive attitude are something to be admired. This month is dedicated to celebrate them.