But it was the 1970s and she lived in California, where she recalls you needed to be 21 years old in order to learn how to fly a plane. Her father, a pilot himself, told her she'd just have to wait.
But why wait, when she could carve her own path? And that path began with a conversation with a Navy recruiter.
"It was an opportunity for me to spread my wings and fly, and ... not be taken care of by my family," Oliver said. "Some girls go across the country to go to college, to be on their own. I just happened to join the Navy."
Oliver enlisted in 1976. She was one of 8% of women serving in the military, and as a naval aviator, found herself on the forefront of several milestones for women: She was a mechanic on airplane engines, flew flight crew and proudly displayed her Aircrew wings for over a decade.
And most recently, she achieved a local milestone: Oliver became the first woman to be elected first vice commander for the American Legion Post 267, located at 156 New Britain Ave. There's a sense of pride in that for Oliver.
"But it's also a sense of foundation," she said. "This is what happened when I was active duty. I broke a few glass ceilings — the first woman on two ships, I did a bunch of stuff in the '70s that most women hadn't gotten to do."
'We're here to serve our veterans'
The American Legion, a national veterans service organization, is split into four family units. There are the Sons of the American Legion, composed of sons of veterans; the auxiliary, composed of women, wives and daughters of veterans and of active service members; the legion riders, which are Legion members who also ride motorcycles; and the legionnaires themselves, who are veterans or active service members. Each has their own leadership.
Oliver is a legionnaire, serving just under Commander Jack Sadousky.
She originally became involved with the Post when she moved to Ormond Beach last year, and served as second vice commander. She was also the first woman to hold that position. Oliver has also committed to the position of the legionnaire's finance officer, as she said she wants to help the post continue to grow, survive and thrive.
"It's all about teamwork," she said. "If you've got the right team around you, anything can get done."
And the Post seeks to let the local veteran community know its estimated 700 members are here to support them. In addition to the fundraisers conducted by the auxiliary, such as the upcoming annual breast cancer fundraiser which raised over $10,000 last year, the Post is looking to start a disaster relief committee to take care of veterans in case of a hurricane as well as become more active with local schools and perhaps visit classrooms to read the Constitution.
The Post also seeks to continue to support veterans homeless shelter Barracks of Hope, sponsor Boys State to provide high school seniors with scholarships and accept flags from the public to be formally retired.
"We're here to serve," Oliver said. "That would be the bottom line. We're here to serve our veterans in the community."
When Oliver left the Navy in 1988, she didn't find a veterans support organization — because she didn't look for one.
It's something she realized decades later when founded her own nonprofit, Heart of a Fighter, in Orlando after retired there in 2013. Now disbanded, Oliver meant to reach out to women veterans and help them transition into civilian life. But women, she found, were hesitant to ask for help in the first place.
Being part of an organization like the American Legion upon leaving the Navy would have given Oliver, who is also a keynote speaker on women's empowerment, a chance to find peace and comradery, she said.
"It would have given me a chance to have a brethren where I knew I was safe," Oliver said. "It would have given me an opportunity to see what others have done, to talk to other veterans — Army, Navy, Marine Corps, everybody is all one in here."
The members of the Post made her feel welcome from the moment she walked in, Oliver recalled. She hopes to do the same for others — both men and women.