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La'Shanda standing in front of helo

IT FEELS GOOD TO BE FIRST.

Meet La'Shanda

La’Shanda Holmes is no stranger to prevailing against adversity.  After overcoming numerous childhood hardships, La’Shanda would eventually transform into someone she’d never imagine—the first African American female helicopter pilot in the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Her Story

Only a few short years ago, La’Shanda was a student at Spelman College with a passion for community service. While passing out pamphlets at a school career fair, she stopped to thank Coast Guard Senior Chief Dexter Lindsey for his attendance and service to our country. The two started talking about serving the community and the Coast Guard mission. 

Senior Chief Lindsey was impressed by La’Shanda’s ambition and initiative. La’Shanda, in turn, was very interested in the fact that Coast Guard would pay for her tuition, books, and fees for her remaining two years of college.

Getting to the Top

After enlisting through one of the Coast Guard’s many scholarship programs, La’Shanda finished basic training and later graduated with her bachelor’s degree. She then travelled to places like Alaska and Japan, meeting inspiring people everywhere she went.

During this time, La’Shanda took her first helicopter ride in Clearwater, Florida. In the cabin of that MH-60 Jayhawk, La’Shanda realized what she wanted to do next.

The First Ever

La’Shanda knew going into flight school that there had never been an African American female helicopter pilot in Coast Guard history. But uncharted territory never intimidated her before so she completed flight school and made the record books. La’Shanda has since led countless rescue missions and served her community through her passion for aviation.

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This is La’Shanda’s story. What will be yours? Start exploring opportunities today by submitting your information, chatting with us, or finding your local recruiter. 

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