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IAVA | April 23, 2024

Month of the Military Child Q&A with Jacob Mireles

Each April, the military and veteran community commemorates the Month of the Military Child to appreciate the sacrifices made by military kids. To celebrate, get to know more about IAVA Staff member Jacob Mireles, whose father served in the Air Force.

How did being in a military family affect and impact you as a child?

Much of who I am today, I attribute to growing up a military child. My parents met at church and married right after my father joined the United States Air Force. He went on to retire after attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, after deploying to the Middle East during the war in Iraq. 

Like typical military families, I spent my childhood moving from place to place, and by age fifteen, I had lived in seven states and in three countries on three continents.

How did growing up as a military child shape your personality and values as an adult?

I’ve been exposed to many different cultures, political structures, and social groups and learned to keep an open mind. My parents also taught me and my two younger sisters to appreciate what we have as Americans and what it means to be patriotic. 

How did growing up in a military family lead you to IAVA?

The Air Force Core Values, “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do,” were instilled in me at a very young age. I was taught to carry these values beyond the Air Force into all areas of my life. It is with gratitude and these principles in mind that I strive to be of service in all that I do. It is that drive to be of service that led me to IAVA and today I am proud to work on behalf of post-9/11 veterans like my father.

In hindsight, what challenges did you experience as a child growing up in a military family?

One of the first things people often say when I tell them I grew up in a military family is “that must have been difficult having to move around all the time.” While moving and starting over is never easy, in my experience the biggest challenge was being separated from my dad and stepping up when my parents needed me to. 

What advice would you give other children living in an active military family?

Everyone’s experience is unique, and I am very grateful to have a supportive family. If not for them, it would have been much more challenging for me. It’s hard on kids having to move, start at new schools, and make new friends. My advice is to try and think of these challenges as opportunities. 

As an adult, I look back on those experiences with gratitude. I visited so many amazing places, experienced different cultures, and made friends who I’ve stayed in contact with to this day. My last word of advice – no one else knows the struggles of being a military kid better than other military kids, so find those friends and support each other, especially after a move. 

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