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Recognizing Resilience: Brody and Macie Coyle

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Madison Collier
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Every year throughout April, the Department of Defense recognizes the unique challenges that military children face. As of 2023, 39% of servicemembers are parents, so more than 1.6 million children experience a unique upbringing due to their parent’s military service. During the Month of the Military Child, the DoD teams with national, state and local governments, schools, military serving organizations, and companies to celebrate military children. 

Among these resilient children are Brody and Macie Coyle, 11 and 9-year-old children of Lt. Col. Thomas Coyle, Marine Corps Detachment Goodfellow commanding officer, and Felicia Coyle. Born in Hawaii, while stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, they have been through three moves and three schools in just five years. On average, military families move every three to four years. While this can cause significant stress not only to the children but the whole family, it presents a unique opportunity. 

“These kids have a friendly face in every part of the world, and they are so cultured. They have been able to experience so many different types of instruction and a variety of school cultures,” said Felicia Coyle. “While it’s a challenge it is also an opportunity for them.”

Military children have the means to experience many different cultures, meet people from across the globe and learn how to be adaptable and resilient in a number of ways starting at a young age. 

Two challenges military children face are constant readjustment to new situations and learning to be flexible. While adapting to a new environment, children also encounter the challenges of making new friends and dealing with extended and close family separation. 

“I think it can cause a lot of anxiety in their hearts and minds just wondering, ‘When will we meet friends? What will our new neighborhood be like? Will we fit in at our new school?,” Felicia explained.

The Coyle family prioritizes communication with distant friends and family to combat these thoughts and ease feelings of uncertainty. With modern-day technology staying in contact is as simple as sending a text or calling those who aren’t as easy to see. Building a support system for the whole family for immediate support serves a similar purpose. 

“We were in a unique situation when Felicia was pregnant with Brody. We were newlyweds with a child on the way while living in Hawaii with no family physically here to support us. I had old family friends of my dad’s who were retired from the Navy; they helped us tremendously. They bought groceries, held babies and changed diapers,” said Thomas and Felicia.

Years later, they still utilize local resources and stay close to friends with similar dynamics. As a service member, spouse or military child, many resources are available regarding counseling, early childhood education and employment. 

“You would be amazed at how much help there is to navigate through. Maybe you’re in San Angelo for your first duty station, or you’ve been in for 19 years and are moving to Camp Pendleton for the third time, and there’s a new wrinkle in life, and your spouse or child has a need. There are resources you just have to have the courage to ask; put each other first,” said Felicia. 

For Brody and Macie, leaving friends, going to new schools, long plane rides and learning to make new friends are some of their biggest challenges, but they know they have a plethora of support behind them, walking them through every step and holding their small hands along the way. They have friends and family ready to help them at a moment's notice when they need it and teach them how to be there for others going through the same thing. 

“Always be friendly and help them out, share school supplies and don’t be afraid,” Brody and Macie said, smiling. 

Looking into their futures, Brody Coyle wants to be a marine, “just like my dad,” he explained, and Macie wants to be a singer.

“We always say it’s not going to be a good day, it’s going to be a great day,” - Felicia Coyle.