The Skys The Limit

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - 2:09pm

La'Shanda Holmes is first female African-American Coast Guard helicopter pilot.

The term "role model" is often over-used, but a woman who is a pioneer in the U.S. Coast Guard really fits the description.

Lt. JG La'Shanda Holmes is the pride of Fayetteville, North Carolina where she grew up in foster care with more than a dozen siblings.

Holmes, 25, is now an inspiration on search and rescue missions in Southern California, the first African-American woman ever to fly helicopters for the U.S. Coast Guard.

"I didn't grow up with a silver spoon," she said, "It wasn't perfect for me. If you don't put a limit on what you want out of life, keep dreaming. Anything is possible."

Colleagues believe Holmes will motivate others, especially minority girls, to aim for the sky.

"There are 1,200 pilots in the Coast Guard," said Lt. Commander Elizabeth Booker, the operations officer in Los Angeles, "of which only 85 are female. So she's a huge minority here. We are very proud to have her."

Another aviation pioneer, Lt. Jeanne Menze, mentored Holmes

Menze was the first African-American female pilot in the Coast Guard.

She flies fixed-wing aircraft.

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