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Heather Penney

Heather Penney, National Chair for the CAF WASP Program,

to Receive the 2017 Outstanding Aviator Award

Next week The Wings Club Foundation and International Aviation Womens Association (IAWA) will honorHeather Penney with the 2017 Outstanding Aviator Award. The presentation of this year's award will take place during The Wings Club Foundation's Annual Meeting on March 29 at The Yale Club inNew York City. Since its inception in 2010, the annual Outstanding Aviator Award has been presented to iconic recipients such as the Tuskegee Airmen, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), the Doolittle Raiders,Patty Wagstaff, Robert A. "Bob" Hoover, and Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann.

Maj.Heather Penney was inspired to pursue a career as a fighter pilot by her father, a retired Air Force Colonel. As a first lieutenant, she became the first woman in her Air National Guard unit, serving as a training officer flying F-16Cs on training missions. As the only woman in her fighter pilot training class, and again the only woman in her fighter squadron, Penney was able to draw upon the legacy of the WASP to be reminded of her ability to succeed at whatever she put her heart and mind to.

She is widely recognized for her extraordinary service and bravery onSeptember 11, 2001. Penney was only 25 years old when she piloted her unarmed F-16 on the morning of 9/11 to intercept a hijacked passenger jet. United Flight 93 was feared to be on a collision course with Washington D.C. With no time to arm the F-16, she and fellow pilot Marc H. Sasseville were sent with a clear mission to take down this potential missile at whatever cost, even that of their own lives.

United 93 never made it to Washington D.C. The brave passengers aboard took control of the airplane and crashed it into a Pennsylvania field before Penney arrived. For this mission she has familiarity, but she never wanted it to make her a celebrity. She is humble, filled with a sense of service to her country as instilled by her father, and his father before him. Her mission on the morning of 9/11 was to protect our nation’s capital, and she did so with absolute selflessness.

For Maj. Penney, the WASP are a source of inspiration. Now, as National Chairman for the CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP initiative, she is helping to tell their story, and using it to impact young people’s lives. “The WASP support our project not just because we want to honor and educate,” she said, “but more importantly because this project will change young girls’ lives. It will inspire them, give them role models, and give them the character beliefs and behaviors to achieve their potential.”

Penney earned two college degrees, received a commission as an officer and completed two tours in Iraq. It was determination and the belief that if you rise above any obstacle set before you, anything is possible. With the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), Penney is dedicated to ensuring the story of the WASP is told to future generations to inspire other women and girls to reach their true potential, and to inspire everyone to RISE ABOVE the challenges in their own lives, just like the WASP. “I am so proud to be chairing this effort to honor the WASP and invest in our young people. We will change lives, and through the WASP's amazing story, we will show young girls and boys how to overcome obstacles and barriers so that they can achieve their full potential and live their dreams!”

Penney currently works for Lockheed Martin as the Director of Air Force Aviation Training Systems, specializing in capture management, government relations, and strategic business development. Her portfolio includes the F-22, F-16, and F-35 training. She is currently focused on the Air Force's Advanced Pilot Training competition.

The CAF joins The Wings Club Foundation and IAWA in thanking and honoring Heather Penney for her many outstanding accomplishments.


The Wings Club Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Its mission is to focus on initiatives aimed at supporting scholarships for students pursuing a career in aviation or aerospace; providing programs to educate in the field of aviation and supporting charitable organizations that use aviation to help those in need. The Wings Club Foundation serves over 1,300 members including industry leaders, pilots, professionals in related service organizations and students of aviation.

The International Aviation Womens Association (IAWA) is an international organization for women who hold positions of impact in the aviation and aerospace industry. Founded in 1988, IAWA brings together women of achievement and promotes their advancement throughout the world.

To learn more about the CAF Rise Above: WASP Initiative go to


shutterstock 589919222

GAIndustry Letter Logos


WASHINGTON, DC, March 21, 2017 – With the need to authorize the Federal Aviation Administration before September 30 of this year, a host of general aviation association leaders today joined together to send letters to House and Senate transportation leaders underscoring “real and long-standing concerns” regarding a concept being pushed by some big airlines regarding air traffic control.

Specifically, the organizations cited concerns over a proposal promoted by some big airlines for the creation of “a new governance and funding model for our nation's aviation system, based on systems in other parts of the world.

“The general aviation community has very real and long-standing concerns, which include but are not limited to user fees,” the letter states. “These concerns are based on our operating experiences in these foreign systems and the impact they have had on general aviation.”

The letters were signed by the Air Care Alliance, Aircraft Electronics Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Citation Jet Pilots, Commemorative Air Force, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, International Council of Air Shows, National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Association of State Aviation Officials, National Air Transportation Association, National Business Aviation Association, Recreational Aviation Foundation, U.S. Parachute Association and Veterans Airlift Command.

The letters were sent to House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-9-PA), Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-4-OR), T&I Aviation Subcommittee Chair Frank LoBiondo (R-2-NJ) and Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-2-WA), as well as Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Aviation Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

Link to the House and Senate letters.


Top Photo Washington DC, United States. February 2nd 2017 - Capitol Hill Building in Washington DC by Golden Brown/Shutterstock Inc.



Our Family Came Close

by David Bueche

Movie theaters used to show newsreels before movies to keep the public up to date on major developments in the War, especially to keep morale at home high.

In 1945, in celebration of VE Day (Victory in Europe Day), Frank Capra who is known for making the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmie Stewart, created the newsreel "Two Down and One to Go.”

The film documented the overall strategy for how the war had been fought so far. At first, it concentrates heavily on the Allied victory in Europe, then it focuses on the Pacific Theater.  

You can view the original newsreel at:

One evening the parents of Dale Louis Shebilsky decided to go to the theater. Heavy hearted having lost their young son, who was listed as missing in action and assumed dead. As they watched the reel to the end, the film alternated between short clips of different military units saluting and a waving American flag.  In the middle of the singing and much to their surprise, at about 8 minutes and 40 seconds into the film, they saw their son, Dale Shebilsky saluting - first with another airman standing in front of their B-24, and  then a closeup of Dale by himself.  You can imagine their cheers at seeing this footage of their son, larger than life on the movie screen.

What they did not know is that Dale's crew had been shot down during the last mission flown by the 256th Bomb Group in Europe.  He was hit by flak, so while the underground smuggled most of his crew out, they could not take him. They instructed Dale to give himself up to a nearby Russian unit and have them turn him over to the American Consulate. He located the unit, but they took one look at Dale's blonde hair and blue eyes and put him into a POW camp with German prisoners, torturing him for German intelligence. When the Russian Army was finally convinced that Dale was in fact an American, they then tortured him for American intelligence.

After VE day, the Russians released him to the American Consulate, with a warning that he was to say nothing of his treatment at their hands.  After treatment of his injuries and a military debriefing, Dale was reunited with his family and remained stateside for the remainder of the war.

Dale Louis Shebilsky, served in World War II flying 33 combat missions. He learned and operated radar equipment and served as a Radio Operator. He also served in the Korean War. He later became a Colonel with the Commemorative Air Force, a member of CAF Airbase Arizona and was my father-in-law. He passed away on July 19, 2014.

WASPEventCover web1

Come hear how you can be part of this meaningful program


Honoring the Past and Inspiring the Future

Luncheon Hosted by Chicago's Leading Edge

To Register Click HERE or go to

WAI Flyer

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF), the world’s largest flying museum, is developing a new educational program,  CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP. This program aims to honor the legacy of the Womens Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) while helping youth, especially young women, become inspired to rise above their challenges - just like the WASP did as female military pilots during World War II.

Please join us on April 12, 2017 at DuPage Airport to hear Heather Penney and Erin Miller speak about how they were personally inspired by the WASP and are now dedicated to ensuring the WASP story is told to inspire new generations.

You will learn more about this program, how you can support this initiative and help inspire the next generation of female aviators.

To see how you can help the initiative or donate to CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP, visit

DuPage Airport
Exelon Corp Hanger

2722 International Drive West
Chicago, IL 60185

April 12, 2017
$25 Per Person (In Advance)

$30 Per Person (At the Door)
Doors open at 11 a.m.
Program starts at noon.

Lunch will be provided and is
included in the registration fee. 


Welcome by WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian

Speakers Include:


Erin Miller (WASP Arlington Lobby & Granddaughter of WASP)

Heather Penney (National Program Chair &  9/11 Fighter Pilot)

web MartyWyall OSH16 Profile

Tailwings WASP Mary “Marty” Wyall

Yesterday we learned that a great woman of honor, Mary “Marty” Wyall, passed away March 9, 2017. Marty was an inspiration in many ways, both for her actions and in her attitude. As a female aviator and patriot, she served her country as a Women's Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) during World War II in WASP class 44-W-10. In the past year the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) has come to know Marty well, through many interviews and events attended together. Her positive attitude and tremendous smile will be remembered by the many photos of Marty standing by the CAF aircraft.  She was approached by the CAF to help with a new educational initiative, CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP, which aims to tell the story of the WASP and to inspire new generatios to overcome their own challenges, using the model of the WASP.

Mary Anna Martin Marty Wyall

Upon becoming aware of the program she immediately went into action, helping in any way she could, by telling her story to the public.By her own recollection, being a WASP was the best thing that happened to her, but at the time it took a tremendous amount of courage to follow through. Like many other WASP, Marty had never been to Texas, and was unsure of what was going to happen during training. When she arrived at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas on a windy day in May, she remembers questioning her own abilities, and thinking she would never be able to fly the large military airplanes.The WASP experience helped Marty recognize that through hard work and perseverance, anything was possible. She graduated and earned her coveted silver wings, just two weeks before the WASP program was shut down. Marty understood that the fate of the program was uncertain, and their “heaven on earth” would come to a close eventually.Marty felt there would be a need to tell the WASP story and started collecting historic materials and memorabilia from her time as a WASP.

web Marty Wyall OSH16

The Commemorative Air Force salutes Marty Wyall for her dedicated service to our country and preservation of our nation’s history. It is our hope that by telling the story of the WASP through the CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP program we will be able to honor the great legacy of Marty and other WASP, who’s efforts should never be forgotten.

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