African American female combat pilot inspires others

Vernice Armour was the first African American woman combat pilot in history.

August 16, 2011 6:30:16 PM PDT
A woman who has become a military role model has a new mission. Vernice Armour was the first African American woman combat pilot in history and she is using her experiences to inspire others.

Armour has gone from making military history to becoming a motivational speaker, mentoring young women at NASA's IT summit "Pearls of Wisdom" luncheon or inspiring corporate employees.

"Getting people, not to be motivated, because motivation is external, but inspired to take action," Armour said.

Action was Armour's middle name while she was in the military. She was the Marines' first African American woman combat pilot in history. She flew super cobras in Iraq.

In one incident, Armour came to the assistance of U.S. troops who were pinned down.

"The target had been destroyed, along with a weapons cache they could have used for IEDs, you know, on our troops at a later date," she said.

But being in combat is not a surprise for Armour, whose nickname is "Fly Girl." she was a police officer, a motorcycle cop, and a professional football player.

"It's about living an exciting, juicy, adventurous life," Armour said. "What we need to do to have fun and go from where we are to where we want to be."

And she wants to take others along with her and why she wants to turn around other people's lives. It is about overcoming obstacles.

"It's like running a play on the football field; you see the holes close up, you role to the outside, take it to the end zone," she said. "Then you think afterward, 'Wow, I almost missed that block,' but you have to stay in the zone when it counts."

Armour has written a book, "Zero to Breakthrough." It has seven steps she says people can follow to accomplish goals that matter.

Armour admits there were times in combat that were scary. But she turned it around.

Now she's using that kind of confidence on another battlefield.

"I like to see transforming your fear to fuel," Armour said. "How do we use it to fuel us in the direction we need to go?"

Armour is also working now with veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, helping them find jobs and create new businesses.

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