HomeNewsArticle Display

Military children: strong, resilient, adaptable individuals

School tour

Melissa Cerna, center right, military child and Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps member, speaks with Joint Base Andrews first sergeants at Dr. Henry A. Wise High School in Upper Marlboro, Md., Dec. 5, 2017. The first sergeants learned about the various programs the school offers students, including business and finance, health and bioscience, information technology and arts integration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Hurd)

Melissa and dad

Melissa Cerna, then three years old, and now retired Air Force Master Sgt. Jose Cerna, her father, sit on a couch in Abilene, Texas, March 23, 2003. Jose served 25 years in the Air Force as an electrical power production craftsman, and Melissa, now 17, has spent four years in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in hopes of following her father’s example. (Courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- April is designated as the Month of the Military Child and is a time to honor the sacrifices of the more than 1.7 million children of military members serving in the U.S. and overseas.

“Military children go through different challenges than civilian children,” said retired Air Force Master Sgt. Jose Cerna, a parent of two military children. “With today’s operations tempo of the military and all the deployments military members have to go through, the children have to stay behind and have to be strong without their parent[s].”

Jose’s oldest child, Melissa Cerna, 17, is a student at Joint Base Andrews feeder school Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. She said she remembers the obstacles she faced during her father’s time in the military.

“It was a challenge for me being a military child because I had to stay emotionally tough,” Melissa said. “When I was in third grade I experienced my dad being deployed for six months. This was a time of great sadness because I missed his presence. While my dad was deployed it made me realize how important his physical and emotional contributions were to the family.”

Melissa said her experience of repeated deployments of a parent and multiple moves in a school year have taught her resiliency.

“Through these challenges, it made me stronger as a person and more adaptable,” she said. “While my dad was deployed, I had to step up to the plate and be strong for my younger brother and help my mom out more. I would be extra positive for my brother by letting him know that dad will be back home soon, and I would help make dinners with my mom.”

Children like Melissa may be the youth of the military community, but many sons and daughters are big supporters of their military families.

“Melissa has always been interested in my career in the military,” Jose said. “Every day she and her brother would meet me at the door and ask me about my day. It was very special to know that my children cared about my job.”

Jose served 25 years in the Air Force as an electrical power production craftsman. His career took his children to Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, Incirlik Air Base in Turkey and JB Andrews.

“When I was younger, I would put his uniform on,” Melissa said. “Growing up, I always thought I wanted to be just like him.”

She said her father is a big role model in her life and a big influence. She even joined her school’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps and said she wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and fight for freedom just like he did.

“I feel very proud that she wants to follow my footsteps in the Air Force, but even more proud that she wants to be a commissioned officer,” Jose said. “Whether she is enlisted or an officer, I will be very proud of her because I know she is a resilient military child who will work hard for her goals.”

Engage

Twitter
Medical pros at Kadena Air Base, 3-D printed naso-pharyngeal swabs to test potential #COVID19 patients. The dental… https://t.co/h8q1HgLjRZ
Twitter
The MC-12W is a medium-to low-altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft. Its primary mission is providing intelligen… https://t.co/st7WRJLDHB
Twitter
Know what resources, treatments & therapies are available for invisible wounds. https://t.co/H2A7fYb8s3
Twitter
“The Total Force team at Eielson plays a pivotal role that extends throughout Alaska and projects into the Arctic.”… https://t.co/7nSYEtYWHj
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: 🙌🎉 Congrats to the @usairforce's newest pilots as Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 20-18 graduates today at @…
Twitter
.@JointBasePHH Airmen participate in a ramp drop from a C-17 Globemaster III. The 25th Air Support Ops Squadron is… https://t.co/AZVT6Qzmgv
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: It is a pleasure to be in #Alaska to see #Airmen and #SpaceProfessionals in action! Whether it’s F-35s & F-22s protectin…
Twitter
RT @EielsonAirForce: When @SecAFOfficial comes to visit, we show off the 'cool stuff' https://t.co/sGCSnVOOXg
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: A career worth a thousand words: Colonel Campbell reflects on career in aviation - https://t.co/atNAeYOoMI (Story by @Dobb
Twitter
The Air Force will host the Air Force Information Technology and Cyberpower conference virtually August 24–27.… https://t.co/9pRjj6U1lp
Twitter
A Rocket Propelled Grenade was launched at a Dyess AFB C-130J in September 2019. The Airmen had to respond quickly! https://t.co/fgfNkCjA4a
Twitter
#DYK The UH-1N has a crew of three (pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer) and is capable of flight in instrument and… https://t.co/Qcj74Tk4ra
Twitter
.@GenDaveGoldfein has left a lasting impression on @HollomanAFB. #DYK Among his many tours, he was once commander o… https://t.co/ET8q1w8ywO
Twitter
The United States Air Forces in Europe Fire Academy & 86th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters get advanced rescue… https://t.co/AUHlxm0nPt
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you to the #Airmen and #SpaceProfessionals at Clear Air Force Station and @EielsonAirForce Base for sharing their…
Twitter
#DYK The F-16A, a single-seat model, first flew in December 1976. The first operational F-16A was delivered in Janu… https://t.co/B72dKcCrnr
Twitter
#DYK The C-17 made its maiden flight on Sept. 15, 1991, and the first production model was delivered to Charleston… https://t.co/edfO5R1YEm
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: To the @PACAF Total Force #Airmen, thank you for your dedication to the mission and your spirit to serve. https://t.co…
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: I have no doubt @PACAF will continue to grow & prosper under the steady & focused leadership of the #USAF’s newest 4-s…
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: For the past 2 yrs, PACAF has transformed under Gen. Brown’s leadership with a new joint mission to deter aggression i…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,251,289
Follow Us