This mini mobile museum is a treasure chest of memories donated by Military Families, Brats, and Teachers from Overseas Schools. It travels around the USA–to Brat functions, to schools, to libraries–anywhere people gather who want to learn more about the military family experience. People come, pore over the contents of the footlocker set out for display and frequently contribute their own items, registering them in the footlocker’s logbook. Some people choose to sit down on the spot and write out a favorite story or memory, adding it to the notebooks which travel with the footlocker. (Later the stories will be typed up and preserved for future generations.)
Over 35 different folders of stories, photos and memorabilia from brats who attended schools on military installations in the US and Overseas, tee shirts, letter jackets, cheerleader sweaters from various DoD schools, buttons, coasters, yearbooks, coins, and much, much more!
Operation Footlocker is a grassroots effort to celebrate the shared cultural identity of Military Brats and grew out a discussion in the spring of 1996 on the Military Veterans of America site within America Online. Operation Footlocker symbolizes the mobility of Brat childhood.
Mary Edwards Wertsch, author of the book Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress, and one of the participants in the discussion, first conceived the idea of taking a real footlocker and sending it around the country as a way of gathering memorabilia and bringing brats together. Reta Jones Nicholson provided the first footlocker and was the catalyst who brought Operation Footlocker from discussion to reality. Gene Moser, the original OpFoot Operations Officer, managed the project for over ten years.
In 2011, Operation Footlocker found a permanent home within the Museum of the American Military Family. This partnership will expand the project and bring it more visibility in the civilian community, furthering the museum’s mission of telling the story of the American Military Family.
Operation Footlocker, the Mini Mobile Museum, a part of the Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Operation Footlocker, an educational program of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, share a similar name and mission, but are two separate entities with no ties except friendship and an interest in the U.S. Military and its history.
- Sponsor a Footlocker Shipment! Operation Footlocker is shipped free one way, and the receiving organization pays to send it back. Typical shipping charges are between $40. – $50.
- Send photos, letters, or items representing your military family to include in a Footlocker. Original items cannot be returned and become the property of the Museum and Operation Footlocker. Use the Contact Form to tell us what you have to donate.
- Spread the word! Inform your local school staff or historical society both of our need for material and our availability as a resource for information about military families.