Venice Armour

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Vernice Armour was born in 1973 in Chicago, Illinois. She grew up in a family with deep military roots.   Her father, Gaston Armour Jr., is a retired major in the U.S. Army Reserve, and her stepfather, Clarence Jackson, is a former Marine Corps sergeant with three tours in Vietnam. Their legacy of military service instilled values of discipline and commitment into Vernice. Her grandfather, a Montford Point Marine, was among the first African Americans to integrate into the Marine Corps from 1942 to 1949.

Armour was raised in Memphis, Tennessee, and was an academic standout at Overton High School. She then attended Middle Tennessee State University. It was at that time that she decided to pursue a career in the military and entered the U.S. Army Reserve ROTC program. After seeing a black female pilot in her flight suit, Armour’s interest was piqued in becoming a military pilot.  Armour also had aspirations to join the police department’s motorcycle force and worked briefly as a Nashville police officer. 

In October 1998, Armour enlisted as an Officer Candidate in the U.S. Marine Corps, expressing her desire to become a combat pilot. She was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on December 12, 1998, and began her journey to flight school at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, and later Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. History was made in July 2001 when Armour became the first black female Marine Corps pilot, graduating at the top of her class.  She continued to hone her skills flying the AH-1W SuperCobra helicopter and also excelled in athletics, earning the 2001 Camp Pendleton Female Athlete of the Year award.

In March 2003, Armour continued to make history when she flew combat missions with the HMLA-169 during the invasion of Iraq. She completed two combat tours in the Gulf and then transitioned to a role in the Manpower and Reserve Affairs Equal Opportunity Brand as a program liaison officer. Armour left the military in 2007 and launched a career as a motivational speaker. She published her first book in 2001, “Zero To Breakthrough” The 7-Step Battle-Tested Method For Accomplishing Goals That Matter.”

Her remarkable journey is truly an inspiration.

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