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Jeanine Menze, also known as Jeanine McIntosh-Menze, is the first Black woman to become a pilot for the United States Coast Guard military branch. Lieutenant Menze is just one of two Black women pilots in the entire Coast Guard.

Menze was born in Kingston, Jamaica and moved with her family to Canada before they finally settled in South Florida. While in the state, Menze attended high school and college, graduating from Florida International University in 2001. She entered the Coast Guard Officer Candidate School, joining the Coast Guard officially in 2003 after leaving the program.

Menze, who had been dreaming of becoming a pilot for years, was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas in January 2005. On June 24, 2005, Menze made her historic mark by earning her wings. Menze was assigned to fly the HC-130 Hercules plane, a large search and rescue aircraft used in several missions. Menze was also part of the rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Menze has served as a mentor to fellow Black woman pilot, La’Shanda Holmes, who became the Coast Guard’s first Black woman helicopter pilot. Menze gave Holmes her wings in a 2010 ceremony.

Little Known Black History Fact: Jeanine Menze  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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