As the nation celebrates Veterans Day, My Start Story is paying special homage to the many women who have for decades served our country by joining the U.S. military. Many of them broke boundaries as the first in their field across the armed forces, acheiving levels no other woman had. All of them were heroines, dedicating their lives to making our world a safer place.
Kathy La Sauce recounts how she rose through the ranks of the Air Force, from becoming one of the first women chosen for training as an aircraft maintenance officer to being named the first female commander of an Aerial Port Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base before retiring in 1992.
Darlene Iskra tells viewers how, after joining the Navy in 1979, she became a Diving Officer, one of the first three female officers to do so. After a career that took Darlene around the world, she achieved a goal she had once only dreamed of: she was selected to be a Commanding Officer, the first woman to command a commissioned vessel of the U.S. Navy.
Zeita Merchant talks about how after joining the Coast Guard at a young age, she knew she was on the right path. Zeita was recently promoted to Deputy Sector Commander at U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York. From 2016 to 2019, she served as the first Commanding Deputy Sector Commander at U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York. From 2016 to 2019, she served as the first Commanding Officer of Marine Safety Unit Chicago and was the first African American female to command a marine safety unit in the Coast Guard.
Phyllis Wilson remembers joining the Army in 1981 not knowing that it would lead to a career spanning almost four decades of both active and reserve service. She began in the Military Intelligence community and went on to serve in many other areas from tactical to strategic. In 2017 Phyllis was inducted into the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame and is a member of their Board of Directors. She also serves as the President of the Women In Military Service For America (WIMSA) Memorial Foundation, Inc., a national memorial honoring all women who have defended America from the Revolutionary War to today.
Veronica Armor remembers she never gave up her dream of becoming a pilot and fighting for her country, even after she became a police officer. She made her way to flight school and became the Marine Corps' first African-American female pilot. Veronica served two combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom, making her the nation's first African- American female combat pilot. After leaving the military, she wrote "Zero to Breakthrough" and now works as a motivational speaker.