NY National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader retiring after 25 years of service

Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto was the first women to serve in the senior enlisted advisor role

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LATHAM, NY (06/26/2019) A Ballston Spa resident who was the first woman to serve as senior enlisted leader for the New York National Guard is retiring after a 25-year military career.

New York Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy R. Giaquinto will retire during a ceremony at Stratton Air National Guard Base on Thursday afternoon, June 27.

Giaquinto served in the 109th Airlift Wing, which is headquartered at the base, prior to moving into the senior enlisted leader job at the New York Air National Guard in 2016. She became the senior enlisted leader for the New York National Guard in 2017.

As senior enlisted leader for the 16,000-members of the New York Army and Air National Guard, Giaquinto reported directly to Army Maj. Gen. Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York on all enlisted issues, to include professional military education, enlisted promotions, mentorship, morale, family and community relations.

She decided to retire, Giaquinto said, so she can spend more time with her family.

The position requires a great deal of travel and she has a son still in high school who she would like to spend more time with, she explained.

"It was a hard decision to make. I love serving and I will miss my National Guard family," Giaquinto said. "No one asked me to leave. It is just the right time."

Giaquinto served three years in the United States Army after enlisting in 1984. She joined the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing in 1997 as an information manager a decade later.

In retrospect, she wishes that she hadn't stayed away from the military for so long after leaving the Army, Giaquinto said.

She missed serving but didn't know about the National Guard until years had gone by, Giaquinto explained.

"If I knew about the Guard sooner I would have joined right after leaving active duty," she said.

She served seven years in the logistics readiness squadron and also served on the Base Honor Guard. In 2004 Giaquinto was selected as the information resource manager in the communications flight. In 2006 Giaquinto was selected as the office manager for the wing command staff, administering executive support for the wing commander, vice commander and executive officer.

In 2009, Chief Giaquinto deployed to Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom, and in 2010 she was selected as a human resource specialist at New York Air National Guard headquarters.

Giaquinto was selected as the 109th Airlift Wing command chief in June 2013 before moving into the New York Air National Guard Command Chief position in July 2016. She was the first women in both those positions.

She took over as senior enlisted leader for the New York National Guard in November 2017.

Since she joined the Army In 1984 she seen lots of changes in the military for women, Giaquinto said.

"There are more and more firsts for women in the military," she said. "The first women to serve in combat, the first woman to be in the position I am in."

"I hope there are a lot less firsts. I hope it becomes the norm," Giaquinto said.

Her advice to young people joining the military is to be ready to make a career out of it.

The National Guard, especially, has a lot to offer, she said. People can have a military career and a civilian career at the same time and get opportunities to deploy without moving around as much as active military people do.

"Twenty years goes by fast. My advice is if you can stay in and make it a career you will not regret it," she said.

Members of the press wishing to cover Command Chief Giaquinto' s retirement ceremony on Thursday, June 27at 2 p.m. should contact Senior Master Sgt. Willie Gizara at 518-344-2423 No later than noon on Thursday, June 27.