2012 Emerging Voice Award Recipient
MA 1997, American Studies, Purdue University
BA 1995, English, Purdue University
Director, United States Air Force Superiority Programs, Lockhead Martin Aeronautics
Heather Penney began her career in flight after she helped established the Purdue Air Race Team in 1994, the first collegiate team to participate in the Air Race Classic. During her time as an undergraduate she learned that the United States Congress was opening up combat aviation to women, she immediately was selected and assigned to the 121st Fighter Squadron to fly F-16 Vipers becoming one of the first women combat pilots.
During Heather’s career with the 121st Fighter Squadron she participated in numerous combat missions including Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Iraqi Freedom. On September 11, 2001, Heather was one of the first pilots in the air with the mission of protecting the nation’s capital. Heathers heroic story was told in numerous publications on the 10 year anniversary of the attacks. Heather retired from the 121st Fighter Squadron in 2009 but she continues to fly in the Air National Guard in the 201st Airlift Squadron.
Heather has been with Lockhead Martin since 2006, where she works closely with the F-22 and F-35 Program Office, the United States Air Force, the Air National Guard, and Congress on all matters relating to the F-22 and F-35 programs.
Heather has been recognized with multiple Air Medals, is a Jimmy Fellow Doolittle recipient, and has been recognized by the Red Cross.