Introduction to “Military Brats” – 17

When my mother left my father, she found, to her great distress, that she was leaving the protective embrace of the Corps that she’d served for more than thirty years.  She was shaken and disbelieving when a divorce court granted her $500 a month in child support, but informed her she was not entitled to a dime of his retirement pay.  The court affirmed that it was the Colonel who had served his country so valiantly, not she.  But she had been an exemplary wife of a Marine officer and it was a career she had carried with rare grace and distinction.  Peg Conroy made the whole Marine Corps a better place to be, but her career had a value of nothing when judged in a court of law.  My mother died thinking that the Marine Corps had not done right by her.  She had always considered herself and her children to be part of the grand design of the military, part of the mission.

Congress eventually recognized this and has passed legislation to rectify it – somewhat.

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