Her Story: Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour
First African-American female navel aviator in the Marine Corps, first African-American female combat pilot in the U.S. Armed Forces
Armour was born in 1973 in Chicago, Illinois. Her family has a strong history of military service reaching back two generations, starting with her grandfather who served as a Montford Point Marine. Her father was a retired major in the U.S. Army Reserve, her stepfather was a former Marine Corps sergeant.
Armour was raised in Memphis, Tennessee where she was a member of the mathematics honor society, the National Honor Society and class vice-president in high school. She went on to attend college at Middle Tennessee State University and enlisted the the U.S. Army Reserve and then the ROTC.
In 1996, Armour fulfilled a childhood dream to become a police officer and became the first female African-American member of the motorcycle squad in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1998, Armour became the first African-American woman to serve a a police officer in Tempe, Arizona before becoming an Officer Candidate for the U.S. Marine Corps.
Armour was commissioned second lieutenant in 1998, She was sent to flight school where she earned her wings in 2001. She was ranked number one in her class and became the first female African-American pilot for the U.S. Marine Corps. In March 2003, Armour became America’s first female African-American combat pilot during the invasion of Iraq.
After completing two tours in Iraq and leaving the military, Armour began a career as a professional speaker and book author.
“Obstacles are opportunities. Acknowledge the obstacles. don’t give them power”-Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour