Captain Pennington is a native of Lompoc, California. He enlisted in the Navy in 1987. After recruit training, Machinist Mate “A” School, and Basic Enlisted Submarine School, he reported to the ballistic missile submarine USS James K. Polk (SSBN 645), homeported in Charleston, South Carolina.
In 1991, Captain Pennington was selected for the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST) commissioning program. He graduated from the University of Idaho and was commissioned in June of 1995; he remained on staff with the Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NROTC) unit and taught naval engineering.
Following graduation from Division Officer School in 1997, Captain Pennington reported to USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) homeported in Yokosuka, Japan. He served as the damage control assistant, auxiliaries officer, combat information center officer, and navigator and completed two training cycles, a homeport shift, and a deployment to the Persian Gulf.
In June of 2000 he reported to Department Head School and received orders to Pre-Commissioning Unit Mason (DDG 87) as the pre-commissioning Engineer Officer. Following his tour in USS Mason, he reported to USS Monterey (CG 61) in May, 2004 as the Engineer Officer. During his 61 months on Mason and Monterey, he completed a deployment to the Persian Gulf, two surge deployments, three shipyard periods, and two training cycles, where the Sailors on both ships earned “Above Average” engineering assessments.
Ashore, Captain Pennington was assigned to United States Strategic Command from March 2007 to February 2009, serving as the plan manager for the nation’s first war plan for cyberspace, executive officer for Deputy Director Plans and Policy (J5), and Command Secretariat. He was assigned to Navy Recruiting District Pittsburgh as the Executive Officer from May 2009 to July 2010 and the Commanding Officer from July 2010 to March 2013. Following his command tour, he was assigned to Naval Sea Systems Command/SEA 21 as the Operations Director for Life-Cycle Support and Modernization for Surface Combatants (PMS 400F) from April 2013 to March 2015. In March of 2015, Captain Pennington reported to Program Executive Office, Ships and served as the Principal Assistant Program Manager for Post Delivery and the Principal Assistant Program Manager for Fleet Introduction of DDG 1000 class ships.
In June of 2017, Captain Pennington assumed the duties as Program Manager for Surface Training Systems (PMS 339), where he managed sustainment and modernization of over 300 training systems around the world, the Zumwalt Training Facility, Manpower and acquisition of training content, curriculum and facilities for non-nuclear surface ships.
In August of 2019, Captain Pennington was assigned to the staff of the Chief of Naval Personnel and assumed the duties as Deputy Director for Digital Transformation, where he will manage the consolidation and modernization of Manpower, Personnel and Training infrastructure and support systems.
Captain Pennington earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval Science from the University of Idaho, a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, and earned a Level III Certification in Program Management from the Defense Acquisition University.
Captain Pennington has earned personal medals and ribbons as well as campaign, unit, and service awards.