JULY 29, 2019 – “Honestly I wasn’t paying attention to the Centurion thing,” said Staff Sgt. Damali Alliman, recruiter, Recruiting Substation Bridgeport. “I was just here to help as much as possible and change lives.”
Changing the life of one person is already an incredible feat, but altering the course of over 100 people’s lives is what Alliman was able to achieve during his three years as a recruiter for the Marine Corps. When a Marine is able to accomplish such a phenomenal achievement they earn the title “Centurion.”
“It seems like it’s not really a realistic feat,” said Alliman. “One minute you get a strong commitment, the next they disappear.”
But for Alliman, it was never a numbers game, it was all about the hopeful future Marines and their faith in his experience. He’s even guided his own younger cousin, James Purdy, through the recruiting process.
“I remember him telling me a couple months ago that they kind of break you down to rebuild you to be top dog, that really stuck with me,” said Purdy. “That’s something I want to make sure is a constant in my life.”
While the overarching goal of joining the Marine Corps is to be a Marine, it is also important for applicants to choose a specialty that is right for them. For Alliman, a large part of the recruiting process is helping applicants choose a meaningful path in the Marine Corps.
According to Allman, one of his strengths is his ability to find common ground with people.
For Pvt. Nicholas Cotterell, who recently graduated recruit training and is helping RSS Bridgeport on recruiters assistance, that common ground was being a hard worker and also being Jamaican.
“I grew up 19 years in Jamaica then came here, I knew nothing about the Marine Corps,” said Cotterell.
Alliman’s shared cultural background with Cotterell is just one example of how he can relate to an applicant while sharing his knowledge of and experience in the Marine Corps.
Most branches appeal to applicants by leading an interview with incentives such as monetary bonuses or special travel options. Although the Marine Corps has the ability to match those kinds of offers, it prides itself on being able to recruit candidates for one reason: to become a United States Marine.
“I spoke to an Air Force recruiter and Army recruiter but something just wasn’t holding. I wanted something challenging,” said Cotterell.
After walking away from the other branches underwhelmed, Cotterell ran into the Centurion himself.
“I ran into staff sergeant Alliman and he challenged me to a pushup competition, and I lost,” said Cotterell. Ever since then I told him I’d beat him someday, and I kept coming back and now I’m a Marine.”
Over the span of his recruiting tour, Alliman recruited 100 individuals, received numerous awards all while maintaining a quality standard of nearly 70 percent Alpha percentage. He also maintained a superb pool program as evidenced by keeping a nine percent pool discharge percentage.
During his recruiting tour Staff Sgt. Alliman received two certificates of commendation, won recruiter of the month three times, and received 12 meritorious masts. His awards include: the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.
Over the span of 36 months during his recruiting tour, Alliman has made the Marine Corps stronger by 100 Marines and walks away with the coveted title “Centurion.” He is scheduled to return to his primary military occupational specialty as an expeditionary airfield systems technician at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, Japan.
Story by Sgt. Paul Williams III
1st Marine Corps District