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Recruiter signs sister to be an Airman

  • Published
  • By Leslie Brown
  • Air Force Recruiting Service

Sometimes recruiting is a numbers game but once in a while it can be a family affair. For one enlisted accessions recruiter, his applicant was his sister and Air Force Basic Military Training star.

Tech. Sgt. Terell Douglas, a recruiter in the 369th Recruiting Squadron’s Whittier, California, office recently had the pleasure of enlisting his sister, Airman 1st Class Tiesha Douglas, in the Air Force and being by her side at her BMT graduation when she was presented the Top Graduate award.

“I’ve always spoken with her about the amazing opportunities and experiences I’ve had in the Air Force long before I became a recruiter,” Terell said. “There were a few points over the years that she considered taking steps (toward joining) but would always change her mind.”

Terell said that he knew Tiesha would make a great Airman.

“She displayed our core values (integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do), even before she knew they were a thing,” Douglas said.

Tiesha remained hesitant until one day she finally made the call to her brother.

“It felt amazing to finally come to the decision that I was ready to join the Air Force and to have my brother as my recruiter was the icing on the cake for me,” Tiesha said. “It makes the experience much more special.”

Terell told her that if she was serious, he would treat her virtual appointment for interview just like any other applicant. He made it clear he couldn’t treat her any different than others during the recruiting process.

“We are both adults living different lives and our normal conversations don’t reach the depth of questioning involved in the recruiting process,” Terell said. “While having some background information on her did allow me to have a head start on the initial interview, there were many new things that I learned about her. Treating her process no differently than the typical applicant has resulted in the best outcome.”

While it was always on her mind to join, her brother said she questioned her ability to deal with the physical and mental challenges of BMT.

“There were definitely challenging points in BMT like pushing through physical fitness or living with many females or being part of an integrated flight with males,” Tiesha said. 

To get through those times, she relied on something her brother had said even when she felt like she couldn’t go on. Tiesha said that during BMT she always looked forward to a phone call because she would call her brother for motivation.

“It was great to see my brother again after two months and show him I made it through although I had my doubts,” she said after her reunion with Terell at the BMT graduation.

Terell said he wasn’t the only one excited about his sister’s decision; their family was excited, too.

“They were ecstatic! Being the first in my family to serve, they had their reservations when I initially joined the Air Force but mostly supported my decision,” Terell said. “They have witnessed my growth, experiences, opportunities and much more over my years of service. With that being said, when they knew Tiesha wanted to join and that I would have the ability to be her recruiter, they wanted her to leave before the process even started.”

His military experience inspired his sister.

"It made me more aware of what it means to be an Airman because he has been in for 12 years," Tiesha said. “It’s amazing to be an Airman. I feel quite honored to be an Airman after all these years.”

After she graduated from BMT Jan. 20, 2022, with distinction, she entered technical training for her career field, Aerospace Medical, located at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

For his work recruiting BMT’s Top Graduate, Terell was recognized as BMT’s Recruiter of the Week during the graduation ceremony. What stands out in his mind from that day however was a discussion he kept hearing in his car when he took his sister and her friend, also a BMT graduate, off base during their liberal leave.

“They kept saying I’m an Airman!” he said.

Tiesha doesn’t recall how often she repeated the phrase but she cherishes the memory as her brother tells it.

“I was shocked and ecstatic that it happened,” she said.