Col. Denise Donnell, a Clifton Park resident commanding the 105th Airlift Wing, promoted to one-star general

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Col. Denise Donnell

LATHAM, NY (01/05/2021) (readMedia)-- Col. Denise M. Donnell, a Clifton Park resident who commands the New York Air National Guard's 105th Airlift Wing and Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, will be promoted to brigadier general during a morning ceremony on Wednesday, January 9, at New York National Guard headquarters.

Members of the press are invited to attend the short ceremony.

WHO: Colonel Denise Donnell, the commander of the 105th Airlift Wing, Major General Timothy LaBarge, the commander of the New York Air National Guard, and Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York.

WHAT: Promotion of Col. Donnell to one-star general. The ceremony will involve Donnell taking the oath of office and pinning on her new rank. Donnell will be the fourth New York Air National Guard female officer to be promoted to general officer rank.

WHEN: 0930 AM, Wednesday, January 6, 2020

WHERE: 330 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham, NY

Coverage Opportunities:

Video and still photographs of the promotion ceremony and an opportunity to interview Brigadier General Donnell.

Members of the media must call the the Division of Military and Naval Affairs Public Affairs Office at 518-786-4581 for access to this secure military facility.


Col. Denise M. Donnell is the commander of the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, NY.

She is a command pilot with more and 3,800 hours of flying time and is rated on the T-34 and T-55 trainers, the Navy's P-3C patrol aircraft, the C-5 Galaxy, the C-17 Globemaster II, the C-130 and the LC-130.

Donnell oversees a wing of more than 1300 military personnel with a payroll of over $78 million. She is commander of Stewart Air National Guard Base, which also hosts the Marine Corps Reserve's Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452, which flies 14 KC-130T air-to-air refueling aircraft and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 49, a Marine Corps Reserve aviation logistics support unit.

She has served as the commander of the 105th Airlift Wing, which operates the C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter, since 2017.

Donnell was born at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and graduated from Georgetown University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Foreign Service. She received her commission through Naval ROTC and served in the Navy for nine years as a naval aviator.

She joined the New York Air National Guard's 105th Airlift Wing in 2002 and qualified to fly the C-5 galaxy.

In 2005 she was selected as the commander of the 105th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and earned her maintenance badge while continuing to fly as a C-5 aircraft commander.

In May 2010, she assumed command of the 105th Maintenance Squadron, and led the unit through a conversion from C-5 to C-17 aircraft and simultaneously qualified as a C-17 pilot.

In 2013 she was assigned to the 109th Maintenance Group at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia and also qualified to fly the LC-130 "Skibird" that the wing flies in support of missions in Antarctica and the Arctic.

In 2016 she was reassigned to the 105th Airlift Wing as Wing Vice Commander.

Donnell holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Georgetown University and is also a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College.

Her awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Combat Readiness Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal.

She is married to Greg Szczesny, the President of Saratoga Advisors, and a graduate of the United States Military Academy. They have two children.

Other New York Air National Guard female officers who have reached the general officer ranks are: Major General Dawne Deskins, currently serving as Deputy Director of the Air National Guard; retired Major General Irene Trowell-Harris, a medical officer; and retired Brigadier General Esther A. Rada, a judge advocate general.