Saturday, June 21, 2008

LTJG Jeanine McIntosh became the first Black female U.S. Coast Guard aviator in June 2005. Her father, Conrol McIntosh, pinned golden wings on her uniform.
LTJG McIntosh, 26, said the experience made her aware that barriers still exist for Blacks and women. Although her name will be inscribed in history books, LTJG McIntosh said the experience also has been humbling.
"I'm just really honored," McIntosh said, after the winging ceremony at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. "There's no other word for it."
Ms McIntosh said she always knew flying was her passion, but the road toward her dream was not always smooth.
She was initially unable to pass the vision test because of her 20/400 vision. Photorefractive keratectomy surgery was successful and she was awarded a slot in the pilot training program. Ms McIntosh then had to overcome her fear of the water.
"Overcoming my fear was one of my biggest accomplishments," she said. "Conquering so many personal struggles prepared me for the mental drive necessary to complete the extremely challenging training regimen."
The pilot training included learning the instrumentation, flight patterns and completing missions. Ms McIntosh began her training at the base in January 2005.
Coast Guard LT Jason Flennoy helped Ms McIntosh get into the program and took a detour from his cross-country move from Arlington, Va., to San Francisco to attend the winging ceremony.
"It's beautiful to watch her make history," Flennoy said. "One, she's an officer in the Coast Guard and two, she's an aviator. She'd always say failure was not an option for her."
Members of McIntosh's family flew from New York, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Florida to witness the event, including her uncle, Michael Larrow, from Jamaica.
"Jeanine's story is one of a humble person who worked hard to make something of herself, and we're all extremely proud," Larrow said. "It's an inner drive that made her accomplish this dream and I hope this will inspire the ladies to follow in her footsteps."
Maurice McIntosh, her 23-year-old brother, said he was initially surprised at her decision to join the Coast Guard, but could not be prouder of his sister. His concern is following in his sister's footsteps.
"Right now it can't be done," McIntosh said. "I'm her younger brother, so I'll have something to do in the future to match up to her. It's going to be hard. She's made history."
LTJG Jeanine McIntosh
• Age: 26, born 1979
• Born: Kingston, Jamaica
• Hometown: Miami, Florida
• May 1997 graduated Miami Killian High School
• May 2001 graduated Florida International University, international business degree
• 2003 joined the Coast Guard
• Nov. 2003 graduated from Officer Candidate School
• Jan. 2005 began training at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi
• June 2005 earned wings
Coast Guard Firsts
• 1943: Joseph C. Jenkins becomes the first Black officer in the Coast Guard
• 1945: The first five Black women join the Coast Guard
• 1957: Bobby C. Wilks becomes the first Black Coast Guard aviator
1974; Jill Brown, Black female aviator, turned down for Coast Guard flight program because Coast Guard did not want the first USCG female aviator to be a Black woman.
• 1977: Janna Lambine becomes the first female Coast Guard aviator
2005: Jeanine McIntosh becomes the first Black female Coast Guard aviatorafter Vivian Crea had become the first female aviator.

One of LT London Steverson's most noteworthy potential recruits was Jill Brown. She was an African-American female who was related to one of the Tuskegee Airmen. When he was informed by a friend working at the Federal Aviation Administration that Jill Brown was talking to LT Jerry Moore about a career in the Navy aviation program, he quickly set up a meeting with Jill Brown. After explaining to her the differences between the Navy's Avaition program and the Coast guard's program, Jill Brown was ready to sign up to become the Coast Guard's first female aviator. She was more than qualified; she was over qualified. She was young. She was stunningly beautiful. She had the training, the experience, the hours of instrument and visual flight time. There was only one thing missing as far as the Coast Guard was concerned. She was not white. The Coast Guard Chief of Personnel did not want the Coast Guard's first female aviator to be an African-American female. I had to tell Jill Brown she could not be the Coast Guard's first female aviator, because she was Black.
The Coast Guard refused to open the Aviation specialty to females because Vivian Crea was in Officers' candidate School in Yorktown, Virginia. They waited for her to graduate and then sent her to flight School.

Vice Admiral Vivian Crea.
Vivian Crea's graduation as the First Coast Guard Female Aviator was hailed with great publicity and fanfare.

Jill Brown did not suffer from the slur. LT Jerry Moore was glad to get her to sign with the Navy. She signed with the Navy and received her share of publicity. Her face and profile graced the cover of many magazines and other publications.
LT Jill Brown's picture appeared on the cover of the 28 November 1974 JET magazine.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the 60s-80s when we talked about "managing diversity", we really meant race and gender. Sadly, we still find ourselves well short of optimizing either or both of those elements. Both the enlightened intellectual and the practical project leaders of today see huge value in making certain his or her team is composed of members who bring not only gender and racial diversity but also a wide spectrum of skills and capabilities to the table. We want variations in expertise and age and MATURITY and ideas and CULRURE and any other factors of consequence that could help get the project done well. For too long we have celebrated what we had in common. That's OK, but the fault lies in pretending that we have everything in common. WE SURELY DO NOT and the better leader knows that and acts on that knowledge.

9:48 PM  

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