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Gone but not forgotten

Turkish and American children participated in a Month of the Military Child parade at the Incirlik Child Development Center April 17, 2015, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. April is the month dedicated to the sacrifices and service of military children. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

Month of the Military Child celebrated in 2015 prior to this years ordered departure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- The month of the military child is quickly coming to a close, but children who were at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, must embody the meaning of a military child now and through the future.

At the beginning of April, the families of U.S. personnel and Department of Defense civilians, departed to their designated safe haven.

"We understand, we've been in the military for a while, we've been through several deployments, but this is like a reverse deployment, it's a little bit different," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Bierman, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron explosives ordnance disposal technician.

In most cases, the servicemember is the one to depart to a temporary duty assignment or deployment. In this case, the children undertook this task.

"They're incredibly resilient and bloom where they're planted, as the expression goes," said Capt. Ian Anderson, 39th Medical Operations Squadron Public Health officer in-charge. "For instance, my girls will attend three different schools, in three months, in three different countries! That's definitely a life experience rather unique to the military."

Military children frequently deal with separations from parents and are relocated to a new home every few years.

"Many of the military children take these changes in stride and excel with the adversity they face," said Capt. Monica Cordova, 39th Medical Operations Squadron Women's Health nurse.

Some of the changes include communication however, families found ways to ensure constant communication with their loved ones wherever they are. For most, video chat, seemed to be at the top of the list.

"I [video chat] with the kids every day and just talk about how their day is going," said Staff Sgt. Nathan Reese, 728th Air Mobility Squadron, communication navigation system craftsman.

Members at Incirlik said having their children leave reminds them why we celebrate the military child.

"The month of the military child is important because military children often make many sacrifices that most children don't ever experience," said Cordova.

For Anderson he said, "It's very important because our families serve too."

Anderson went on to say, "Most of the time, our spouses signed up for this life when we enlisted or commissioned, but our kids are born into it without a choice. I understand military children tend to be more independent, assertive, and resilient, but these life lessons are usually learned through the struggle of moving around a lot, making and losing friends, always being the new kid, and living a life most other people cannot understand. Our kids should be celebrated. Not just for the sacrifices they make for our careers, but for the motivation they give to the military members to keep our country safe and make the world a better place for them to grow up in. They are our everyday reminder of why we serve."