Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney
DC Air National Guard
Washington D.C. Metro Area
On the morning of Sept. 11th, 2001, Lt. Penney didn’t have time to consider what had just happened.
She had to “Ruck up” and take the fight to the enemy. She was one of only 2 combat aircraft to launch in time to engage any incoming threat.
LT. Penney had no clue if she was going to get jumped by a squadron of enemy fighters, intercept a bomber or what to expect. All she knew was that her people were under attack and it was up to her to stand in the gap.
Either way, the one big factor in this engagement was that she was unarmed – there was no time to arm her weapons. Her F-16 carried No rockets, No cannon shells, No machinegun rounds… she didn’t even have a loaded sidearm.
If she was going to engage an enemy aircraft, the only weapon she had was her aircraft, and herself.
She would need to ram the threat with her own bird – ejection wasn’t an option because the ejection charge might act as a retro rocket and divert the F-16 away from her target. The only guarantee of success was to fly her ship all the way in – Kamikaze style.
Compound this with the fact that as information was sorted out she came to the realization that she was being ordered to take down a US flagged commercial airliner, full of Americans.
She was being ordered to kill Americans in order to save even more Americans… and there was ZERO chance of survival. Lt. Penny had no hesitation but I can imagine the relief she felt when the order to stand down came across her radio.
I guess the gender correct compliment is:
“The LT has Giant Overies”