Origins Of The Term: “Military Brat”
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael M. Dunn wrote a blog post in 2011 making note of a book from 1921 attributing the origins of the term at least in part due to a British military acronym that stood for “British Regiment Attached Traveler” (BRAT).
This designation was given to families who were approved to accompany the servicemember to an overseas duty location. The story goes that eventually “BRAT” became synonymous with military children.
BRATs as they were known in British military culture were addressed in British Educational Research Journal, but another reference in British pop culture from the 1700s, a play called The Recruiting Officer could also lend a clue. It has lyrics that reference military and/or civilian “brats and wives.”