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NEWS | April 27, 2023

Joint Task Force-Red Hill Recognizes the Month of the Military Child

Joint Task Force-Red Hill

FORD ISLAND, HAWAII - Military children are often compared to the dandelion because it can put down roots almost anywhere and it’s almost impossible to destroy. A poem by an unknown author describes military children as being “able to bloom everywhere the winds carry them.”

April is the Month of the Military Child, and at Joint Task Force-Red Hill, U.S. Army Capt. Jakada Haymon, operations officer, shares his experience with being a military child himself.

“The best part about being a military child was having parents who have that innate ability to teach about honor, courage and commitment,” said Haymon. “I think that learning how to treat people, especially at a young age, is very important.”

Haymon spent much of his childhood in Marine Corps dining facilities. His mother was a food service specialist in the Marines and often brought him to work with her when he was too young for school. Haymon's childhood experience as a "mini Marine" encouraged him to embrace military regimen and structure.

“It taught me how to work in a fast-paced environment, which I think is good, but it forced me through childhood a little bit more quickly, too,” said Haymon. “Time had a very different meaning to [my parents] in terms of punctuality and how quickly we got things done. I think that was indicative of their military service, especially in the Marine Corps.”

It’s essential to acknowledge military children’s service through connection. The Dandelion poem says, "their roots are strong, cultivated deeply in the culture of the military, planted swiftly and surely. They learn that to survive means to adapt.”

Being a military child offered Haymon great experiences, but he also experienced challenges that were unique to having two parents in the Marine Corps.

“I think one of the biggest challenges was that I was really tied to my parents’ schedule,” said Haymon. “Another was that we had very few kids in the neighborhood. It wasn't like how it is now where you live on base and all of the kids just hang out together.”

Today there are more than 1.6 million children in military families, and the military moves these families on average every two to three years, which impacts children in meaningful ways.

According to the poem: “They have learned from an early age that home is where their hearts are. That the door that closes one chapter of their life opens to a new and exciting adventure, full of new friends and new experiences.”

Haymon describes his parents’ service as respectable and honorable and that influenced his decision to serve. He graduated from high school a year early and, following in his parents' footsteps, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and served for four years. Once he finished college, he enlisted for Army Officer Candidate School, eventually commissioning as an Army officer.

Haymon now has four children of his own.

“I don’t think my children have the same obstacles with being a military child that I had because the military now puts a stronger focus on families,” said Haymon. “I think giving service members, especially junior enlisted, the necessary resources to allow them to really take care of their families shapes how their children view the military. It’s important that they have a strong sense of community with other military children.”

When asked about what advice he would give to service members with children, he emphasized the importance of ensuring military children get integrated with peers as soon as they get to a new base. Get them into activities that will help them find a positive friend group.

“If your kid falls apart when you move, you have to do a lot of work to make sure that they get put back together on the other side,” said Haymon. “You have to help them build a support system, so they have outlets when they're stressed.”

As a former military child who is now an Army officer with his own children, he knows how it feels on both sides.

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