Rear Adm. Will Pennington is a native of Wilton, Iowa. He graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. He is a graduate of Air Command and Staff College, Joint Forces Staff College, and holds a Masters in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Pennington was designated a Naval Aviator in 1991 and has deployed nine times with operational tours in F-14 and FA-18 aircraft supporting Operations Southern Watch, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, and Inherent Resolve. Early assignments include Fighter Squadron (VF) 154 forward deployed to Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, the Carrier Air Wing (CVW) Eight Staff, and VF-14. He later returned to command Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14. Additional sea tours include executive officer of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) during her initial certification and maiden combat deployment and commanding officer of USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), the U.S. 7th Fleet Flagship forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. Most recently, he served as commanding officer of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) and completed a record setting combat deployment for which the crew was recognized with the Atlantic Fleet Battle ‘E’, the Jig Dog Ramage Award for excellence in integrated carrier air wing operations, the Flatley Memorial Safety Award, and the Chief of Naval Operations Award for Excellence in Environmental Stewardship.
Pennington’s shore tours include instructor duty with VF-101, the F-14 Fleet Replacement Squadron, executive assistant to the Director of Plans and Policy (J5) at USSTRATCOM and subsequently as Special Assistant to the Commander at U.S. Strategic Command. He has also served as the commander detailer for Tactical Aviation within Pers-43 at Navy Personnel Command, aircraft carrier requirements officer at Naval Air Force Atlantic, and chief of staff at Naval Air Force Atlantic.
His awards include the Legion of Merit, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (Strike Flight and Individual Action with Combat V), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various campaign, unit and service awards.