Marcy Ng: America’s First Black Woman Military Pilot
Marcy Hayes certainly didn’t plan on becoming the first black female helicopter pilot or the manager of a faith based pregnancy resource center in Texas. But as Marcy tells Centralia Fireside Guard, “God has a purpose for everything.”
Marcy was raised by her grandparents in Centralia, Missouri during the 1960s and 70s. Back in that time, it was not acceptable for a single woman to raise a child so her mother and grandparents decided it was best if they adopted her and raised her as their own. Her sensitivity to the situation of single mothers would later play a role in her future endeavors.
She joined ROTC in her second semester of college and graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate in the Regular Army. This meant that she was subject to serve six years in the military; the two last years would be in the Reserves. After passing the aptitude test, she eventually decided to go into flight school. Times were changing, and while she had experienced some earlier racial episodes in her childhood, she felt it was acceptable to pursue her dream of flying.
“Women were no longer separate, we were regular army officers and there were enough minorities in my program that it did not make a difference,” she told Centralia Fireside Guard. Marcy didn’t even realize that was on her way to becoming the first black woman helicopter pilot until a civilian mail clerk pointed it out.
“[He] said to me, ‘you are the first one of you I had seen.’ He did not mean anything by it, but was surprised to see a black woman in flight school,” she said. Not too long after that a reporter discovered Marcy and confirmed that she was indeed the first black woman military aviator. Her supervisors however, halted the story until after Marcy graduated to put a stop to any discrimination she may have faced.
When Marcy finally did finish flight school, the reporter was allowed to publish the story. But more importantly, Marcy met the man she would spend the rest of her life with–her future husband Dennis Ng.
“At first I thought he was a chauvinist. He has served in Vietnam, but we got to know each other better and 32 years later we are still together,” she said.
Soon Marcy Hayes became Marcy Ng, and together the couple raised three children. As Marcy continued her journey as the first black woman pilot, she faced trials from instructors who were reluctant to teach her and faced other incidents as she rose in the ranks to become a Lt. Colonel. Now retired, Marcy runs a faith-based pregnancy resource center close to Ft. Hood, Texas. About 25 percent of her clients are military families. In addition, she and her husband have become very active in the Christian Motorcyclists Association.
“It has taught me to accept people where and what they are and not try to change them,” Marcy says of her experiences. “Mine is just to care for them and it’s God’s job to make the changes.”