Achala Dennison

Meet Achala Dennison Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy

“What made my success was adopting an early motto of ‘challenge accepted.’”

  • Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy
  • Test & Evaluation Project Officer VX-20
  • Naval Flight Officer E-2C Hawkeye Aircraft 
  • Graduate of Naval Academy specialized in Aerospace Engineering with Aeronautics emphasis
  • Deployed with VAW -117 “Wallbangers” in support operations for Operation Enduring Freedom

Dennison had always desired to be in the military, and dreamed of becoming an astronaut in elementary school. The carrier lifestyle intrigued Dennison, which led her to join the Navy. She faced a difficult road in Flight School, and met setbacks with continuing perseverance. Dennison eventually found success in becoming a Naval Flight Officer and graduated from the United States Navy Test Pilot School. She credits her success to her tenacious will and ability to find supportive mentors in a white male-dominated field, especially flight instructor Katie Hodges who served as Dennison’s first role model of female aviation.