Armour in January 2006
|Born||1973 (age 48–49)|
|Place of birth||Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1993-2007|
|Awards||Air Medal with 13 Strike Flight awards and Combat "V"|
|Other work||Zero to Breakthrough(TM) Expert, professional keynote speaker, law enforcement officer|
Vernice Armour (born 1973) is a former United States Marine Corps officer who was the first African-American female naval aviator in the Marine Corps and the first African American female combat pilot in the U.S. Armed Forces. She flew the AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopter in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and eventually served two tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Early life and education
Armour was born in 1973 in Chicago, Illinois to Gaston C. Armour Jr. and Authurine Armour. After her parents divorced, Clarence Jackson married Authurine. Both her father and her stepfather had served in the military - Gaston Armour was a retired major in the U.S. Army Reserves, and Clarence Jackson was a former Marine Corps sergeant that served three tours in Vietnam. Her grandfather, too, was a Marine.
Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Armour graduated from Overton High School, where she was a member of the mathematics honor society, the National Honor Society, and class vice-president.
Armour graduated from MTSU in 1997. In 1998, Armour became the first African American female to serve as a police officer in Tempe, Arizona before joining the U.S. Marines as an Officer Candidate in October 1998.
Commissioned a Second Lieutenant on December 12, 1998 Armour was sent to flight school at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas and later Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Earning her wings in July 2001, Armour was not only number one in her class of twelve, she was number one among the last two hundred graduates. She became the Marine Corps' first African-American female pilot.
After flight school, Armour was assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton near San Diego, California for training in the AH-1W SuperCobra. While at Camp Pendleton, she was named 2001 Camp Pendleton Female Athlete of the Year, twice won the Camp's annual Strongest Warrior Competition, and was a running back for the San Diego Sunfire women's football team.
In March 2003, she flew with HMLA-169 during the invasion of Iraq becoming America's first African-American female combat pilot. She completed two combat tours in the Gulf. Afterwards, she was assigned to the Manpower and Reserve Affairs Equal Opportunity Branch as program liaison officer.
Leaving the U.S. Marine Corps in June 2007, Armour began a career as a professional speaker and expert on creating breakthroughs in life.
In 2011 her book Zero to Breakthrough: The 7-Step, Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Goals that Matter was published.
Awards and decorations
|Naval Aviator Badge|
|Air Medal w/ 1 award star, valor device, and Strike/Flight numeral "13"|
|Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ valor device||Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal||Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 1 service star||National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star|
|Iraq Campaign Medal w/ 2 service stars||Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal||Global War on Terrorism Service Medal||Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 1 service star|
- List of U.S. Marines
- List of African-American firsts
- Elizabeth A. Okoreeh-Baah, first female Marine Corps Osprey pilot
- Walker, Nicole (April 14, 2003). "Vernice Armour, 1st black female combat pilot, serves in Persian Gulf as family copes". Jet. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_16_103/ai_100111398. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
- "Biography - Vernice Armour". http://www.vernicearmour.com/vernice-armour.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
- Williams, Lance Cpl. Sha'ahn (Aug 17, 2006). "First Black female pilot honored in memory of Bessie Coleman". Quantico Sentry OnLine. http://www.quantico.usmc.mil/Sentry/StoryView.aspx?SID=416. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
- "Vernice Armour". Tavis Smiley - Late Night on PBS. PBS. July 23, 2007. http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/archive/200707/20070723_armour.html. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
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