• Parents' Stories

      Parents' Stories

      Parents' Stories

      As a parent, you want to learn everything you can before your child makes the important decision to serve in the Military. It's a good thing, then, that fellow parents who were once in the same situation are here to offer some honest advice. Watch videos of parents discussing their experiences with having a child who serves, from the initial discussion to deployment and beyond. Afterward, be sure to read our written stories, explore support groups and download resources — all to be as informed as possible.

  • Deployment

    For military parents, learning their child is going to be deployed raises a whole new set of questions and concerns. Hear how these parents coped with their children's deployments and what gave them comfort during this time apart.

    Betty Simmons: I think when they’re home you don’t think about them going. We never go down when they leave. They don’t want us. Probably, one, they don’t want their mom bawling when they’re getting on the bus to go. (laughter)

    Norman Brown: He said, “I’ll be all right, Dad. I mean, you don’t have to worry.” I mean, we’re going to worry anyway, but the way he was handling it, you know, made us feel better about it.

    Monique Morris: He basically told me that if, as long as he’s doing what he’s supposed to do, and he’s not supposed to leave the base, or leave the base with who he’s supposed to, he should be safe. So he’s not scared, so I guess I shouldn’t be, but I am.

    Puanani Ahlo: While my son’s been deployed, there’s been a lot of email contact, internet resources, Skype-ing. I can’t call him and contact him, but he does keep in contact with us regularly, so he’s taken his iPhone and his laptop with him, or he uses what they have at the facilities that they’re at.

    Marc Danziger: There would be weeks when he’d be up on the Internet and I’d see him every day, and we’d chat. We couldn’t Skype but we’d, you know, we’d do instant messaging back and forth or email back and forth a couple times a day, and then there would be a week-and-a-half long period when he’s just blacked out.

    Holly Clayman: I think his training that he had from the Air Force for this has been very good. I don’t think he felt he went to Afghanistan unprepared.

    Jayne White: I just wanted to know he was going to learn everything he needed to know. I wanted him to be so ready if he was deployed.

    Don Simmons: On one hand, you’re just extremely proud that they’re being deployed and helping out the country and going over there, but on the other hand you’re always, I guess, keeping one eye on the TV to see what happened over there.

    Patricia Smith: We would kind of watch the news or, you know, look on the website.

    Darlene Anderson: At first I was kind of, you know, very, very concerned, but after speaking with him and he told me, “I’m prepared for this. That’s what they train us for. It’s our job,” then that really made me feel a lot better.

    Harold Stewart: I spoke to Jason as much as possible but, I mean, you know, what happens happens. You just got to put your faith in the people around you as well as, yeah, the man above.

    • Deployment 2:10


      For military parents, learning their child is going to be deployed raises a whole new set of questions and concerns. Hear how these parents coped with their children's deployments and what gave them comfort during this time apart.
    • Service 3:05


      Service members are the first to step forward and protect the freedoms of their fellow Americans. Military parents explain the importance of serving others, and how they take pride in what their children have accomplished.
    • Challenges 2:03


      No experience comes without challenges, and the demands can be high for both military service members and their families. In this clip, parents share what was difficult for them and how they found support.
    • Transformations 2:12


      Military service can have a dramatic effect on young service members, both physically and mentally. Here, parents share how service helped their children develop confidence, determination and more.
    • Support 2:44


      Having a strong support system is important, not only to service members, but to military parents as well. Here, parents share the resources and organizations they turn to for encouragement and guidance.
    • Advice to Parents 2:38

      Advice to Parents

      We asked military parents, "What would you tell another parent whose child was considering service?" These responses provide valuable advice for families and a firsthand perspective on making the decision to serve.
    • Finding Out 2:51

      Finding Out

      Most parents never forget the first time their child mentioned joining the Military. Hear how these parents found out and what their initial reactions were.
    • The Discussion 3:26

      The Discussion

      Even the most supportive parents might have questions about a child's decision to join the Military. See what these parents asked to make sure their children had thought the decision through.
    • Recruiters 2:26


      Recruiters can be a great source of information for young adults and their parents. Hear about real parents' experiences and learn what to ask.
    • Misconceptions 2:28


      When a young adult serves, his or her parents may find themselves faced with popular military misconceptions. Hear which false impressions these parents encountered and what they did to set the facts straight.
    • Basic Training 2:37

      Basic Training

      For many parents, Basic Training is the first time their child has lived away from home. Learn how parents cope with the demands boot camp places on them and their children, and the sense of accomplishment felt by all upon its completion.
    • Training & Skills 2:59

      Training & Skills

      The Military offers continuing opportunities for both formal education and life lessons. Find out what these parents think about the learning experiences their children have encountered in the Services.
    • Parents: In Their Own Words

      Parents: In Their Own Words

      Daddy's Little Girl

      Daddy's Little Girl

      QuoteShe’s my little girl … Being prior Service, I have knowledge about what it takes. Seeing your daughter graduate [Basic Training], and suddenly your little girl is a Soldier … I am so proud of her.Quote

    • Parents: In Their Own Words

      Parents: In Their Own Words

      Discipline & Determination

      Discipline & Determination

      QuoteI saw a lot of character [come out] within him.Quote

    • Parents: In Their Own Words

      Parents: In Their Own Words

      Reaching New Heights

      Reaching New Heights

      QuoteI was so thrilled for him for being able to meet his dreams. Quote

    • Parents: In Their Own Words

      Parents: In Their Own Words

      A Mother's Pride

      A Mother's Pride

      QuoteI saw my boy become a man. I could see the confidence.Quote

    • Parents: In Their Own Words

      Parents: In Their Own Words

      Like Father, Like Son

      Like Father, Like Son

      QuoteIt's a lifestyle. It's a way to learn. It's a way to grow daily.Quote

    • Resources

      Contact a Recruiter

      Schedule a meeting with a recruiter and learn what to expect from your visit.

      Request Info

      Get a free DVD and magazine, plus additional information from each Service, sent to your home.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      View answers to commonly asked questions about the Military.

      Further Exploration

      Further Exploration

      You've finished your journey and seen all the Military offers. Continue your exploration with hundreds of Joining, Training, Living & Working videos.

Darlene Anderson: I can say that the Military really helped him in his direction as far as his career path and what he would like to do for the future.

Louis Arroyo: If my son chooses to retire — I believe currently he's thinking to retire at 20 years — so I'm sure by the end of 20 years he will be more than prepared to come into the civilian world and pursue whether it be logistics or whether he pursue school while he's in the Service and maybe another career. But currently he's looking at making a career out of the Marine Corps.

Norman Brown: Well, he wanted to go in the Army Reserve because he wanted to go to college, and he said, "Well, this way, Dad, they'll pay for me going to school and stuff." I mean, he really wants to, like, be an EMT. That's what he's going to school for, and he's working hard at it.

Jayne White: His school is paid for. He just has to jump through some hoops as far as the paperwork, and most of the schools are pretty good about understanding how to fill out the paperwork.

Bill Fraedrich: He has been in school now three different times, but interestingly, since his engineering school requires a co-op program, he's been able to count those schoolings as part of his co-op program. So he got paid for it. All his expenses were covered: living, food, everything, travel. Plus, he gets co-op credit in college. That's worked out pretty well for him.

Beth Radiseck: Lindsay is at, in Monterey, Calif., at the Defense Language Institute learning Russian because she's going to be a Russian linguist. She's still in school now. She's halfway through. She graduates in February, and then she'll go to Texas for a couple months to learn how to be a linguist. She'll have had her language — she'll graduate with her language and an associate degree, actually, which is great.

Greg Brewer: He had been trying to procure a job in law enforcement for the previous three, four years, and after going the rounds and trying to get on in many different suburbs on many different police forces, it just finally kind of sunk into him that the military service, which he could get the security and police training from, was a viable option for him, and so he decided to go that route.

Dale Conjurski: Justin got advice from Chris saying, "If you're going to be in the Navy, you've got to be in this program." If you talk to people, you tell people your kid joined the Navy and they're in nuclear, and everybody that knows it says, "Oh wow, that's a great program to get into," and even though their kids weren't in the nuclear program they had heard about the nuclear program. Justin chose that because if you can get that test and pass that test you might as well go for the best.

Monique Morris: Because he is an accountant, he had to go to a lot of classes about learning about taking care of your own finances, so he got a car loan, so he has to pay bills. He's a credit union member. Now he, you know, he has his own accounts, he pays his own car note and all that stuff, so I think financially it helped him a lot, too.