"I took a step that changed my life. I joined the Marines."
First African-American Female Combat Pilot
It's only been a year since Captain Vernice Armour left the Corps to start her own business, but she's already using what she learned as a Marine—and a helicopter pilot—and she's sure it'll stay with her for the rest of her career. "Everything I do stems from my time in the Corps," she says. Once a Marine . . .
My childhood dream was to be a mounted police officer and ride a horse downtown. By the time I was 21, I had made it—after a fashion. During my last year of college, I became a motorcycle cop, riding a steel horse. Then I took a step that changed my life. I joined the Marines.
My stepdad had been a Marine, with three tours in Vietnam; my father had retired from the Army Reserve as a major; and in World War II my grandfather was a Montford Point Marine—a segregated unit that contained the first black men in the Corps.