NAA Names James Schenck as the 2024 Whitman Trophy Recipient

PenFed’s CEO Recognized for Enduring Support of Aviation and Veterans

Washington, D.C./Tysons, Va., March 5, 2024 – The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is pleased to announce that PenFed Credit Union President/CEO & PenFed Foundation CEO James Schenck has been selected as the recipient of the 2024 Bruce Whitman Memorial Trophy.

A visionary leader and selfless humanitarian, Schenck is honored for his dedication to commemorating, celebrating, and advocating for the impact and heritage of America’s military veterans and his willingness to promote and support the next generation of aviators.

Established in 2019 by the NAA Board of Directors, the Bruce Whitman Memorial Trophy honors outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to aviation or aerospace in the United States and who, by working with museums and other institutions, have promoted an appreciation by students and the broader public of the sacrifices and legacy of members of the military service. Created in honor of the aerospace executive and philanthropist bearing its name, Bruce was posthumously named the first trophy recipient in 2019.

“No one cared more about our industry than Bruce Whitman,” said Jim Albaugh, NAA Chair. “He dedicated his life to service, and I know Bruce would be honored to know that this year’s recipient of the Whitman Trophy is James Schenck. James is someone who contributed so much to our military and our nation.”

During his military career, Schenck flew Black Hawk helicopters in Korea and trained other US Army aviators as a night vision goggle instructor pilot. He served on the Army Staff in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans and was later selected to serve as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. He received the Legion of Merit for his contribution to the Army by overseeing creation of the $453 million Army University Access Online educational initiative. Prior to his assignment to the Pentagon, James taught Economics and Finance at the United States Military Academy. Schenck is a graduate of the Harvard Business School (1996) and West Point (1988).

Schenck was selected by HillVets as one of the nation’s 100 most influential and impactful veterans. He’s been recognized for his significant contributions to supporting the military community with honors including the Association of the United States Army’s John W. Dixon Award, National Military Family Association’s Military Family Champion Award, Canine Companions for Independence’s Hearts and Heroes Award, and the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Service Award.

“Deeply impacted by the failed Iranian Hostage Rescue mission on April 24, 1980, when 8 American servicemembers lost their lives, I have been steadfast from that date forward in my commitment to our men and women who serve,” said Schenck. “I am forever proud of my military service as an Army Aviator, and for the millions of other veterans who have worn the uniform of our nation. We can never do enough for the men and women and their families who keep us free. I am honored to receive this prestigious award from the National Aeronautic Association.”

Since becoming PenFed’s CEO in 2014, Schenck has supported veterans by donating up to 2% of the organization’s net income annually to over 200 military charities and raising over $55 million for veteran causes through the PenFed Foundation to include major gifts to the Air and Space Forces Association, Mitchell Institute, Military Women’s Memorial, American Heritage Museum and many other groups that champion and honor the military community. PenFed sponsored the first graduating class of the Red Tail Flight Academy, training the next generation of pilots to carry on the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. PenFed Credit Union also sponsors a top professional air show team and provides scholarships to young aviators.

Previous recipients of the Whiteman Trophy include author and WASP advocate Erin Miller, the U.S. Golden Knights, and record-setting pilot and U.S. veteran Ross Perot, Jr.

Schenck will be honored and receive the 2024 Whitman Award at an upcoming event.