By Pat AdelmannAugust 10, 2021

Maj. Tanner Durham administers the oath of enlistment to Tykierra Blackshear.
Oath of enlistment (Photo Credit: Luke Petrovich) VIEW ORIGINAL

Growing up in a poverty stricken neighborhood in Miami Tykierria Blackshear, a Miami Central High School senior, always looked up to her aunt, Command Sgt. Maj. Shateria Rahming, the Command Sergeant Major for the Milwaukee Army Recruiting Battalion. Knowing her aunt came from the same neighborhood, she aspired to reach some of the same goals her aunt already has achieved.

“I see my aunt as a role model because she was the first person to introduce me to the opportunities that the Army has to offer me. As a child I’ve always admired my aunt and the way she lives, which makes me want the same for myself and better” Blackshear said.

Rahming has known of her niece’s desire to join the Army since Blackshear was a small child. Although she saw the signs, she never pressed her to enlist but rather make the decision on her own.

“At the age of four, my niece told everyone that she was going to be in the Army like her aunt” Rahming said. “I remember her visiting me and going in my closet to dress up like a Soldier. At the time, I thought she was just being a typical kid. I didn’t take her interest in the Army serious until she enrolled herself in the Junior ROTC program during her freshman year in high school.”

In many cases a Recruiter is the first Soldier many enlistees will ever meet. For Blackshear, she had known her aunt her entire life and has seen what the Army can do for a person. She hopes to capitalize on her enlistment and the benefits that come with it.

“During my enlistment, I hope to gain leadership skills, confidence, travel the world, gain financial stability and become a positive role model for my younger siblings.” said Blackshear.

Rahming enlisted from the same neighborhood where her niece lives and has used her Army career and benefits to change her life. She believes everyone has the opportunity to improve themselves and aspire to greater heights.

“In the area I grew up in, joining the Army is actually frowned upon, mostly due to lack of knowledge” Rahming said. “As she [Blackshear] became older, she saw how the Army benefited me with the VA home loan process, earning my Master’s Degree utilizing the Army’s tuition assistance, free medical and the opportunity to travel the world.”

Like many people who join the Army Blackshear has set goals for herself.

“My reasoning for joining is to make the Army a career and retire at an early age” said Blackshear.  “During my time in the Army my goal is to advance to the highest rank possible and attain my Master’s Degree in US Foreign Policy and National Security.”

If she is like her aunt, the sky is the limit for Blackshear. One day she may be the role model for the next generation of Soldiers.