Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour made history as the first Black woman aviator for the U.S. Marines, and also became the first Black woman combat pilot across the U.S. Armed Forces. Today, Armour is a motivational speaker and author and one of the faces of a new campaign aimed at recognizing the contributions of women.
Armour was born in 1973 in Chicago but was raised primarily in Memphis, Tenn. She hails from a military family, as her father was one of the first Montford Point Marines and both her father and stepfather served as well. While enrolled in Middle Tennessee State University, Armour joined the school’s ROTC program and the U.S. Army Reserves.
In 1996, Armour made a little-known historic mark, along with fulfilling a life’s goal, by becoming the first Black woman motorcycle cop in Nashville, TN. Armour made history once more in Tempe, Ariz. after becoming the city’s first Black woman officer.
In 1988, Armour officially joined the U.S. Marines as an officer candidate and entered flight school at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas and then at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Armour gained her wings in 2001 as the top student in her class, thus cementing her place in the Marines’ history books.
While in San Diego, Calif., Armour trained with the AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopter squad and in 2003, flew two combat tours as part of the initial Iraqi invasion. Armour left the Marines in 2007.
In 2011, Armour published her book, Zero to Breakthrough: The 7-Step, Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Goals that Matter.
Armour is part of paper towel company Brawny’s Women’s History Month campaign, which features a series of women across several professional backgrounds telling their respective stories.