Disclaimer: The content of this site and its links are all the owner’s own words and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Navy nor the Department of Defense.


Emily Shilling is a Commander in the United States Navy. She currently serves as an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer, Program Manager, with NAVAIR in the Washington DC area. After obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado, Emily joined the Navy. She was winged as a Naval Aviator in 2007 and went on to fly the EA-6B Prowlers, EA-18G Growlers and F/A-18E/F Rhinos. Operating off the USS Abraham Lincoln she conducted sixty combat missions in support of operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn in both Afghanistan and Iraq. For her actions she was awarded three Air Medals and the Order of Daedalians Distinguished Airmanship Award. Subsequently selected as a Test Pilot Candidate, she was ordered to the United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) in Patuxent River Maryland.

CDR Shilling graduated with honors from Test Pilot School and received her Master of Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2015. She then served as an Electronic Attack Project Officer with Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23) where she conducted high risk test flights in support of the US Navy’s most advanced air combat systems to include the cutting-edge electromagnetic aircraft launch and recovery systems being installed in the latest generation of US Aircraft Carriers. Following the success of this tour she was selected as an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer (AEDO) where she is now a Military Deputy Program Manager charged with developing and acquiring our nation’s next line of offensive and defensive air systems.

Her major efforts as a Systems Engineer have included the Kepler Interplanetary Space Telescope, the Next Generation Naval Fighter, and the Next Generation of Naval Mission Planning. These systems have and will push the art of the possible, offering unique challenges for systems integration and will perhaps be her greatest technical legacy.

Work Experience

  • Naval Mission Planning and Strike Systems (PMA-281) – (2020-2023)
    • Deputy Program Manager, LVL I
    • Award: Out & Equal LGBTQ+ Corporate Advocate of the Year (2022)
  • Mission Engineering and Design (4.0M NAVAIR) – (2017-2020)
    • Project Manager, LVL III
    • Award: Commendation
  • Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23) – (2015-2017)
    • Electronic Attack Project Officer
    • Award: Commendation
  • United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) – (2014-2015)
    • Fixed Wing Student
    • Award: Best Development Test Thesis
  • Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) – (2013-2014)
    • Systems Engineering Student, Master’s Degree
  • Electronic Attack Squadron One Three One (VAQ-131) – (2009-2012)
    • EA-6B Pilot
    • Award: 3 x Air Medal
    • Award: 2 x Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal
    • Award: Deadalian Award for Superior Airmanship During an Emergency
  • Electronic Attack Squadron One Two Nine (VAQ-129) – (2008-2009)
    • Student
  • United States Navy – (2005-2007)
    • Student Naval Aviator
  • Ball Aerospace – (2003-2005)
    • Associate Engineer
  • Colorado Space Grant Consortium – (2001-2003)
    • Lead Student Engineer
    • Award: Student of the Semester


  • Bachelor’s Degree – (2005)
    • University of Colorado, Boulder
    • Aerospace Engineering Sciences
  • Master’s Degree – (2014)
    • Naval Postgraduate School
    • Systems Engineering
  • Certified Naval Test Pilot – (2015)
    • United States Naval Test Pilot School
  • Professional Certification, Model Based Systems Engineering (2017)
    • MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology


  • TOTAL (Hours): 1714.0 (PIC: 1567.7)
  • COMBAT (Hours): 350.9 (60 Missions)
  • ARRESTED LANDINGS: 242 (137 Day / 105 Night)
Platform (Hours):
  • EA-6B (1072.4)
  • FA/EA-18E/F/G (158.2)
  • T-45C (177.8)
  • T-38C (46.8)
  • 19 Others (261.3)
  • EA-6B NATOPS Instructor / Crew Resource Management Facilitator (NOV 2011, NOV 2015)
  • PWTP Level III EA-6B Mission Commander / Section Lead Pilot (SEP 2011)
  • Functional Check Flight Crewmember (JUN 2011)
  • Surface to Air Counter Tactics Instructor (OCT 2011)
  • Squadron Landing Signal Officer (2011)

In The News

  1. Navy commander receives top award for LGBTQ+ advocacy – The Southern Maryland ChronicleNavy commander receives top award for LGBTQ+ advocacy > United States Navy > News-Stories
  2. Navy commander receives top award for LGBTQ+ advocacy | NAVAIR
  3. 2022 Workplace Summit LGBTQ+ Corporate Advocate of the Year Outie Award | Out & Equal (outandequal.org)
  4. Emily Shilling (spartapride.org)
  5. Emily “Hawking” Shilling joins SPARTA Board as Membership Director (spartapride.org)
  6. With ban lifted, transgender service members free to figure out what comes next (nbcnews.com)
  7. Revealed: the trans military members living in fear under Trump’s ban | Transgender | The Guardian
  8. Lancer awarded ‘Order of the Daedalians’ (kitsapsun.com)


This site is dedicated to my explorations. I will often fail, and sometimes succeed but I will always be learning and sharing what I have uncovered. As a passionate dreamer and maker, I explore the world from first principles through to full implementation. I dive into the how and the why of a thing and pursue results only on sound foundations. I am many things, a Naval Aviator, Test Pilot, System’s Engineer, and Program Manager but more than anything else, I am a Maker with a love for all things geek.