Rear Adm. Penfield was commissioned in October 1982 via the Aviation Officer Candidate Program and earned his Navy Wings of Gold in June 1984. His operational assignments include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA 136) as a plankowner, VFA-94, and command of VFA-115. While in command, he deployed on the maiden F/A-18E Super Hornet cruise participating in Operations Enduring Freedom, Southern Watch and the initial combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His shore tour assignments include Training Squadron 23, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) Five, the Super Hornet Fleet Introduction Team, and VX-9 where he was the lead operational test director for the F/A-18E/F operational evaluation.
His assignments as an acquisition professional include program manager air (PMA) 265, the F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office; command of PMA-259, the Navy’s Air-to-Air Missile Program Office; command of PMA-268, the Navy Unmanned Combat Aerial System Program Office; and assignment to the Naval Air Systems Command staff working Integration and Interoperability initiatives.
Penfield’s previous flag assignment was commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.
Penfield has over 4,000 flight hours and 750 carrier landings. He has been recognized as the 1995 Commander, Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet Pilot of the Year, and the National Defense Industrial Association Navy Military Tester of the Year for 1999. He has been awarded two Legion of Merits, the Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, six Air Medals (one individual with combat V/five Strike Flight), four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals (one with combat V), and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Awards along with various other personal, unit and service medals.