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    Anthem recruiter exemplifies warrior ethos through family and work

    Anthem recruiter exemplifies warrior ethos through family and work

    Photo By Alun Thomas | Sgt. Jesse Thurman (right) is pictured with his wife Natalea and five of his children,...... read more read more



    Story by Alun Thomas  

    U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion - Phoenix

    ANTHEM, Ariz. – As the Army seeks to hire 10,000 new Soldiers during the first National Hiring Days, June 30-July 2, one recruiter will be working tirelessly to add to that number.

    After 10 years of service, Staff Sgt. Jesse Thurman, recruiter, Anthem Recruiting Station, Phoenix North Recruiting Company, has found his niche, helping provide the Army with its next generation of Soldiers and leaders.

    Thurman has had an eventful career to date, serving in such diverse locations as Germany, Afghanistan and Kuwait, preparing him for his current assignment as a recruiter.

    Thurman’s path to the Army began at high school, when he was part of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program, which he initially hoped would lead to enlisting.

    Unfortunately it didn’t turn out as planned for Thurman.

    “I was part of the JROTC program during the first two years of high school, this initially piqued my interest in the Army,” Thurman said. “I ended up not following through with my plan of joining after graduation and looking back I wished I had.”

    Instead Thurman graduated from Plantation High School, Plantation, Fla., in 2001 and tried both automotive vocational school and community college. By 2009 however, Thurman realized he needed to make a change for himself and his family, wife Natalea, and three children, Alexia, Noah and Hazel.

    “In 2009 my interest in the Army was reignited when I realized that the Army could help provide me with additional benefits that could help both me and my family,” Thurman explained. “At that time I was married with three kids and medical insurance was very expensive. From the first moment that I spoke to my wife about joining she was 100 percent supportive and is still that way to this day.”

    Thurman stepped into his local recruiting station intending to inquire about the Army Reserve, but soon had his mind changed after learning what active duty could offer.

    “After going over all the different benefits and opportunities, I switched and chose the active duty Army route. I was 26 when I started the process in September of 2009,” Thurman continued. “Because of the winter break I ended up shipping to basic training in January of 2010 at 27 years old. My wife actually stopped her schooling when we moved to Germany and she was very close to becoming an RN (registered nurse).”

    Thurman enlisted to become an M1 Armor Crewman, graduating from One Station Unit Training at Fort Knox, Ky., in 2010, before moving to his first duty station in Grafenwoehr, Germany, with his family, now comprised of four children.

    “I had some catching up to do … my youngest (son, Abrams) was born three months before I shipped to basic training,” Thurman said. “We absolutely loved being in Germany and would go back in a heartbeat. I got the chance to travel around Europe and soaked up as much history as I could.”

    Thurman deployed to Afghanistan while in Germany, gaining valuable experience in combat, before moving to Fort Benning, Ga.

    “At Fort Benning I was assigned as a tank gunner, which in my opinion is the most fun job on the tank because you get to squeeze the trigger on a 120mm gun,” Thurman explained. “During my second time qualifying on our tank at Benning we earned the right to brag because we had the highest score and were named the Top Tank Crew for my battalion.”

    Thurman then moved to Fort Riley, Kansas, where he served as a tank commander and deployed once again, this time to Kuwait.

    “In Kuwait we trained the Kuwaiti Army on basic infantry tactics. After returning from Kuwait I really got to expand on my position as a tank commander,” he continued. “We did a lot of training on our tanks which helped me gain more knowledge. During the winter of 2016 my crew scored the highest score in our squadron during tank qualifying.”

    Thurman suffered a setback when he failed to complete the Abrams Master Gunner’s Course in 2017, following a period of intense training.

    “Unfortunately I was not successful when I attended that school –however, God had a different plan for me,” Thurman said. “God has helped with my disappointment from this minor setback and I’ve been able to use this learning experience as extra motivation to better myself. I am eager to start the course again when my recruiting time is over.”

    Thurman’s next stop was the Phoenix Recruiting Battalion, where he has been assigned to the Anthem Station since Nov. 2017.

    “Recruiting has definitely been one of the most challenging assignments in my career so far. I have had to overcome a few personal challenges, like public speaking. I have never enjoyed speaking in front of crowds but as a recruiter that is an everyday thing,” he added.

    Thurman and his wife have added to their family with two more children, sons Zachary and Jesse Jr., which has been a blessing for him.

    “Another benefit of recruiting is I have been able to spend more quality time with my family. I actually extended my recruiting time for one year because it allows my kids to benefit from Arizona’s homeschool benefits,” Thurman said.

    Thurman said he sees only positives, as he moves into the second half of his Army career.

    “I see my Army future being very bright … I've only been in for 10 years and I feel I have at least another 10 years in my Army career,” he stated. “I'm currently on track to get promoted during my time as a recruiter and this will ensure that I continue to move forward.”

    Recruiting has also given Thurman more time to finally focus on his college education, as he’s completed more classes in the past two years than in the prior 8 years.

    None of this would have been possible without his wife’s support, Thurman said, the key to his success.

    “I’ve been married to Natalea since April of 2006. Without her support I would not have been able to achieve everything that I have so far in my Army career,” Thurman said. “She always helps me to stay organized when I plan training for my Soldiers. She reminds me to stay focused on the task at hand; all while raising and homeschooling our six kids.”



    Date Taken: 06.29.2020
    Date Posted: 06.29.2020 18:20
    Story ID: 373058
    Location: ANTHEM, AZ, US 
    Hometown: PLANTATION, FL, US

    Web Views: 168
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