Defying the odds: Sisters who serve together stay together

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Shaniah Trego
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Less than 1% of all Americans volunteer to serve in the military. Each individual has their own specific reason for joining, but they equally chose to defend the constitution and its ideals. They made the choice to take the oath to defend their families and fellow countrymen against those who threaten their safety, both foreign and domestic.

In many cases, more than one individual from the same family will choose to serve at the same time, and this requires sacrifice and flexibility because of the travel and distance associated with being stationed at multiple bases around the globe. The chances of two siblings being assigned to the same base are slim, and the percentage drops drastically when you add another sibling. However, for Hurlburt’s three Elliott sisters, they were able to defy those odds.

Sierra, Carlie, and Julia are one of the extraordinary cases where three siblings, each with different careers, enter the same branch and are stationed at the same installation.

Growing up in Delmar, Maryland, the sister’s father, a retired military member, would tell stories of his travels and life in the U.S. Army. His stories highlighted the camaraderie and core values that he was most proud of, and this inspired his daughters towards their own military careers.

“Our dad always said the Air Force was the best. All the veterans said it was best,” the sisters explained when discussing their reasons for choosing the Air Force branch.

Sierra was the first Elliott sister to join the Air Force. She enlisted in 2012 as a munitions specialist, and after several assignments, was given orders to the 1st Special Operations Munitions Squadron at Hurlburt. She later volunteered for a special duty as a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Coordinator.

Carlie, the second Elliott sister, had considered an Air Force career since childhood, and seeing Sierra’s positive impact encouraged her to begin her own military journey and joined in 2018. She was later stationed at Hurlburt Field with the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron.

“I always knew I wanted to be in law enforcement, so Security Forces seemed like a great opportunity,” Carlie said when discussing her career field. “The best thing about being in the Air Force is still being with my family and the training opportunities.”

The youngest sister, Julia, enlisted soon afterward, and she began training on the MC-130H Combat Talon to become an aircraft loadmaster. She trains with the 492nd Special Operations Training Support Squadron.

“We were all definitely shocked and excited,” the sisters said about learning they would be stationed at the same base. With the sisters all located at Hurlburt Field, they are able to maintain their family connections while pursuing their dream of serving in the Air Force.

In a way, it’s like they never left home. “We have movie nights and family dinners almost weekly,” Sierra said. “We love cooking and baking together. Recently Carlie and I entered the ‘Chef of the Quarter’ competition as a family team and actually pulled out a win!”

The Elliott sister’s unique situation brings a noteworthy aspect to their military experience. Individually, they chose the Air Force, yet remain close during their separate journeys. Camaraderie and competition encourage their commitment, and being part of the Air Force family drives their motivation. Because of their decision to join the 1% and serve, the Elliott sisters have cemented their place in this generation as part of America’s military foundation.