Jeanine McIntosh Menze was born in Kingston, Jamaica and attended Vaz Preparatory School. Her family moved to Canada before relocating to South Florida, where she graduated from Miami Killian High School in May 1997 and Florida International University in May 2001 with an International Business Degree. She also served as a flight instructor at Opa-locka Airport in Florida. After graduating from Florida International University, she decided to pursue her dream of flying, taking flying lessons at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines.
McIntosh-Menze joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 2003 after graduating from the Coast Guard Officer Candidate School. In 2005, she began Coast Guard aviation training at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. She earned her aviator wings on June 24, 2005 and was assigned to fly HC-130 Hercules aircraft out of Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii. She flew rescue missions for the U.S. Coast Guard in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
She holds the distinction of becoming the first black female in the U.S. Coast Guard to earn the Coast Guard Aviation designation and becoming the first black female aviator in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard. Her barrier breaking feat has lead to others like La’Shanda Holmes, the Coast Guard’s first black female helicopter pilot, to blaze a trail of their own.
“Jeanine completely changed the perception of what a pilot was in my mind. So, I knew I could at least give it a shot.” – La’Shanda Holmes
As of 2017, McIntosh-Menze holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
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