Major Heather “Lucky” Penney, ANG
Heather Penney received her B.A. in English in 1995 and her M.A. in American Studies in 1997 from Purdue University. In 1994, she helped create the Purdue Air Race Team, the first collegiate team to race in the Air Race Classic. It was during her graduate studies that she learned that Congress had opened combat aviation to women. She applied to, and was selected by, the 121st Fighter Squadron to fly the F-16 Viper.
Heather was part of the first 2-ship to respond over our Nation's Capital on 9/11, and has flown numerous combat air patrols, sat alert, and scrambled in support of Operation Noble Eagle. She has multiple Air Medals and has been recognized as a superior performer during inspections. As a single mother of two young daughters, Major Penney made the difficult decision to leave the demanding life of a fighter pilot to spend more time with her children.
Heather has held the position of Director, USAF Air Superiority Programs, Aviation Systems, Lockheed Martin Washington Operations since 2006. In this position, Heather maintains close liaison with the F-22 and F-35 Program Office, the Air Force, the Air National Guard, and Congress on all matters relating to the F-22 and F-35 programs.
She actively supports numerous charitable organizations and aviation museums; has been a keynote speaker for the USNA Character Capstone Seminar and Clemson University’s Leadership Summit; is a Jimmy Doolittle Fellow recipient; a Purdue University Emerging Voices Award recipient; and has been honored by the Red Cross.