The presentation will take place during The Wings Club Foundation’s Annual Meeting March 29, 2017, at The Yale Club in New York City.
Penney is recognized for her extraordinary service and bravery on Sept. 11, 2001. She was one of two pilots who took action to protect the airspace over Washington, D.C., as the hijacked airliner, United Flight 93, was heading for the nation’s capital.
Their mission was simple: To take down the hijacked airplane by any means necessary. However, as there wasn’t time to arm the F-16s, it clearly was a suicide mission to fly into the airliner.
Penney was part of the first wave of women who went directly into fighters from pilot training. She grew up around aviation and warbirds, and applied to the Air National Guard to fly F-16s as soon as she learned that Congress had opened combat aviation to women.
The first and only woman in the 121st Fighter Squadron, Penney deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom for initial combat operations as a night-time SCUD Hunter in the western deserts of Iraq, also supporting Special Operations Forces.
Penney now works for Lockheed Martin as the Director of Air Force Aviation Training Systems, specializing in capture management, government relations and strategic business development. There, her portfolio includes the F-22, F-16 and F-35 training. She is currently focused on the Air Force’s Advanced Pilot Training competition.
Since its inception in 2010, the annual Outstanding Aviator Award has been presented to iconic recipients such as the Tuskegee Airmen, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), the Doolittle Raiders, Patty Wagstaff, and Bob Hoover.