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Friday, 29 July 2016 11:32
First Female State Command Chief
BALLSTON SPA – The New York Air National Guard selected Chief Master Sergeant Amy Giaquinto as its new Command Chief, making her the first woman to hold the position as top enlisted Airman in the 5,800-member New York Air National Guard. The Ballston Spa resident replaces Command Chief Master Sgt. Richard King, who has held the position since 2010. King has been named to the position of Command Chief at 1st Air Force, a three-star general officer command responsible for the air defense of the United States. “I’m honored and humbled to be in this position,” said Giaquinto. “When you get the opportunity to lead Airmen and take care of Airmen and their families, that’s what it’s all about and why I do what I do.” The Change of Authority ceremony was held at the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs headquartered in Latham on Monday, July 25. As Chief Master Sergeant, Giaquinto said her role was to be the liaison between the Air Commander and unit members for the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia. “Now I’m the liaison between the Commander of the New York Air National Guard and all the men and women of the New York Air National Guard,” said Giaquinto. “That’s five wings, and the Eastern air defense sector. They are the unit that are responsible for air defense east of the Mississippi and over the Washington, D.C. area. My job is to make sure they have what they need to succeed. Morale, training, education, professional development – I make sure that I take care of the Airmen and the families across New York State.” It is the largest Air National Guard in the United States. As the Command Chief of the New York Air National Guard, Giaquinto will be the senior enlisted advisor on training and morale of the enlisted force to Major General Anthony German, the Commander of the New York Air National Guard and the Adjutant General of New York. She was selected from a pool of candidates after applying for the position by a board and interview process for the three-to-six-year commitment. “I was pretty honored to be selected as State Command Chief from the beginning,” said Giaquinto, “but finding out I was the first woman does make it really special. Women are not denied these positions, but they shy away from applying, and hope my being hired will inspire other women to apply to any position here.” There are currently 1029 women in the New York Air National Guard – 147officers and 882 enlisted, such as Command Chief Giaquinto. The ceremony was especially meaningful for Giaquinto. “It was awesome,” she said. “My daughter was home [from active duty Air Force], my other daughter sang the National Anthem, my son and husband and family and friends and coworkers were all there.” Giaquinto is grateful for the support of her family, her husband New York Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Mark Giaquinto, and her children: Alyssa Giaquinto, a Senior Airman in the Air National Guard; Ashlyn Giaquinto, a college student; and her son Aidan Giaquinto, a middle school student. Giaquinto joined the New York Air National Guard in 1997 as an Information Manager for the 109th Airlift Wing, and served seven years in the Logistics Readiness Squadron. In the ensuing years, she served information resources, office management, and human resources. She has been actively involved with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, serving as a Victim Advocate and as a Bystander Intervention trainer, and in 2011, Giaquinto was selected as the Personnel Superintendent and became the New York Joint Forces Headquarters Sexual Assault Response Coordinator-Air providing training, guidance and administrative support to the JFHQs and all of the New York Air National Guard. In 2009 Giaquinto deployed to Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom. “All members of the Air National Guard deploy to support our nation as well,” said Giaquinto. “I’m always proud of what I do for the Air National Guard, but I felt I needed to deploy over to the desert to serve, because there are so many that are there protecting us and I felt I needed to volunteer and support those men and women in service.” She was selected as the 109th Airlift Wing Command Chief in 2013. Giaquinto holds an Associate of Applied Science Degree from the Community College of the Air Force. Her awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.