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Our Stories: Mocha and In The Military

It’s Military Appreciation Month, and to mark the occasion we’re sharing stories of some of the mocha-fabulous women featured in The Mocha Manual to Military Life and sharing some tips for military bliss.


Vernice Armour, Marine Corps. Captain

Vernice Armour has seen a lot in history. She holds the distinction of being the first Black female combat pilot and has served two tours in Iraq. What’s more, her father and grandfather served in the military. The roots run deep. Still from the vantage point of such a rich heritage, Armour sees something missing.

“Back during segregation, when Black folks traveled to a brand-new city, they would get off the bus and just stand there on the corner. The wouldn’t go anywhere until another Black person walked up to them and told them where it was safe to go. That’s because the the last thing you wanted to do as a Black person was to wander off in a city on the the wrong side of the tracks.

“I believe it used ti be that way in the military, too. When you saw a new young couple trying to navigate the minefields of life or the military lifestyle, there were people waiting there to help them when they stepped off the bus,” she said.

“But now there is a mentality that everything is equal, everything is fine, and that the playing field is a lot more even in the military world. So I don’t think people view it as much of a necessity to reach out like they used to do,” Vernice adds.

One thing is that is extremely critical, Armour said, is recognizing that the ultimate responsibility for your success with the military life lies with you. She offers this advice for any wife, fiancee, girlfriend, service member mother, sister, or aunt whose life is touched by military service.

Write your own book.

It is your life and you are sharing that life with your partner, spouse, and family. Even though you are making a life together, you have to bring something to the table. What is it in your life that you love or are passionate about that you can share with your family? Don’t lose who you are. I can’t tell you how many times I get, “Hi, I’m John’s wife.” I always say, “Hi, John’s wife, what’s your name?”

Strengthen the team without leaving your identity at the door.

You don’t have to assimilate. Bring your thoughts, your diversity, and everything you are to the table. That strengthens the team and the people should know what strengths you possess.

Bloom where you planted

Make the best of your situation. Sure, you may not like the duty station because it will take you away from your family, friends and job. But are you going to hang on that discontent and frustration or are you going to look for the lessons and the opportunity at your feet? There are always opportunities; they won’t go away, other people take advantage of them. Find the opportunity and blow it out the water. Make that duty station or assignment the best one ever!

Excerpted from The Mocha Manual to Military Life by Kimberly Seals Allers (Amistad/HarperCollins)

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