Raised in Dallas, Texas, Commander Pennington graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1996. While at the Naval Academy, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Weapons and Systems Engineering and was the captain of the men's varsity track and field team. He earned his Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from The Fletcher School at Tufts University in July 2016.
CDR Pennington’s operational Maritime Patrol tours includePatrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) based in Kaneohe, Hawaii, Patrol Squadron FORTY (VP-40) based in Whidbey Island, and command of Patrol Squadron SIXTEEN (VP-16) in Jacksonville, FL where he led the “War Eagles” on the maiden P-8 Poseidon deployment. CDR Pennington’s disassociated operational fleet tour was on the staff of Commander, U.S. SEVENTH Fleet onboard USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC-19) home ported to Yokosuka, Japan.
CDR Pennington’s first shore tour was at the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington DC (PERS 43) until he began flight training in 1997. Follow on tours ashore include instructor duty at Patrol Squadron THIRTY (VP-30), the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Fleet Replacement Squadron, Deputy Executive Assistant to the Director, Air Warfare (OPNAV N88) for the Chief of Naval Operations, plus a joint tour on the Joint Staff in the J-8 Studies, Analysis, and Gaming Division (SAGD) where he directed and facilitated senior level political-military war games plus strategy and policy focused table-top exercises. In July 2016, he assumed duties as the Multi-Mission Aircraft and Programs Branch Head, as well as the P-3/P-8 Requirements Officer for OPNAV N98.
CDR Pennington's personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Air Medal (Strike/Flight) (4), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3), and various campaign, service, and unit awards.