New York Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto has been named the top enlisted leader for the 16,000 men and women of the New York Army and Air National Guard.
Giaquinto, a resident of Ballston Spa, is the first Air National Guard noncommissioned officer, and the first woman, to hold the position of senior enlisted adviser to the adjutant general of New York.
The position has been held by male New York Army National Guard command sergeants major since the position was created in the 1970s.
“I am pretty excited that I am the first female in this job,” Giaquinto said in a statement. “I hope it breeds awareness that just because it has never been held by a female, and it has never been held by an Air Guard member, that doesn’t mean that it can’t.”
Giaquinto was named the command chief master sergeant for the 5,800-member New York Air National Guard in 2016. She previously served as the top enlisted leader for the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia.
Giaquinto, who took on her new role in October, will be the overall enlisted leader for the New York National Guard and the enlisted leader for the New York Air National Guard.
Command Sgt. Major David Piwowarski, who also lives in Ballston Spa, previously held the position.
Piwowarski was named New York National Guard and New York Army National Guard command sergeant major in 2016. He will continue to serve as the senior enlisted soldier in the 10,300-member New York Army National Guard.
Maj. Gen. Anthony German, the adjutant general of New York, said Piwowarski made the change to ensure that Giaquinto would have the opportunity to seek promotion to a national level enlisted leadership position.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Piwowarski did an excellent job in the position and is now competitive for non-commissioned officer slots at higher levels,” German said in a statement. “He wanted to give an Air Force enlisted leader the same opportunity.”
Giaquinto began her military career by serving as an Army enlisted soldier from 1984 to 1987 at United States Army Europe headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany.
After leaving the Army in 1987, Giaquinto had a 10-year break in service before joining the 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia in 1997.
She served in information management, administration and human resources jobs at the 109th until 2011. She also deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Giaquinto served as personnel superintendent at the New York Air National Guard headquarters in Latham until 2013 and was named command chief for the 109th Airlift Wing, a position she held until 2016.
“I joined the Air National Guard as a single mom with a full-time civilian job, so I know what it is like to be in the military with young children,” she said in a statement.
Giaquinto is part of a dual military family, as her husband, Chief Master Sgt. Mark Giaquinto, is a member of the 109th Airlift Wing. The couple has one daughter in college, a son in high school and a daughter who belongs to the Kentucky Air National Guard.
“I think my life and work experiences help me relate to soldiers and airmen,” Giaquinto said in a statement. “I hope the soldiers and airmen are comfortable talking to me.”
Giaquinto said her experiences as an active duty soldier, and traditional and full-time Air Guard member, will help her relate to New York’s soldiers and airmen.
“I’m looking forward to getting out and about and learning about the Army, meeting the soldiers and hearing their stories,” she said in a statement. “This is a learning curve for me. However, we have great Army Guard leaders across New York who will be ready and willing to help me.”