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17th TRW | Embracing Identity and Service

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

In May of 2018, trainees Shatora Dunkin and Telisa Moye met during Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio- Lackland. The chance encounters and interactions with fellow trainees during BMT can have a lasting impact on individuals. For some, it paves the way for friendships that endure throughout their military careers. The shared struggles, triumphs, and training create a unique bond among trainees, forming a support system beyond the training grounds. Unexpectedly for Dunkin and Moye, their relationship would grow from career-long to lifelong. 

A year prior, Moye decided to enlist in the Air Force Reserves into security forces, keeping her at JBSA Lackland for the duration of her technical training. Meanwhile, Dunkin was sent to Goodfellow Air Force Base to begin her training as a firefighter. 

“She had a friend that was here for intel training that was originally from San Antonio,” said Dunkin. “So I just caught a trip, and here we are.” 

After graduating technical training Moye was sent back home to North Carolina and Dunkin was stationed at Joint Base Charleston. It wasn’t until November 2018 that they officially began their relationship and also discovered that their hometowns were located close together, both in North Carolina. Once again bringing them closer together. After two years of individual growth, they decided to tie the knot in October of 2020. 

Now, Staff Sgt. Dunkin and Moye-Dunkin have relocated back to Goodfellow where Dunkin, recently, began instructing at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy. While Moye- Dunkin pursues a master's degree in healthcare administration and functions as a personal trainer and social media influencer. When Dunkin steps out of her uniform they enjoy spending time together and are always looking for new experiences to share.

Dunkin volunteered as an instructor to advance her career after being stationed at JB Charleston for the majority of her Air Force career. 

“I didn’t know whether I wanted to do the full 20 or not,” said Dunkin. “My chief told me to take the opportunity to get certifications and to take advantage of the transition and see where you want to go from there.” 

As she steps into her new role as a firefighting instructor, Dunkin hopes to properly train and prepare new airmen for their careers in the Air Force while proving that you don’t have to fall into any stereotype to thrive in your personal and professional development. 

“The higher the rank you become, some people think you’re supposed to live in a square, and that's something I will never do. I’m going to do the right thing but I will never stop being me to make someone else feel comfortable,” said Dunkin. “I think that's a big thing to be said because I have a lot of stuff following me. Not only am I homosexual, but I am an African American, female in the fire department, so there are worries. But I do it for a purpose bigger than me. There may be somebody who looks up to me and thinks ‘Well if she can do it, I can do it.’ I don’t want to give up for them.”