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    New York Air Guard Commander gets second star during Jan. 6 ceremony

    Major General Denise Donnell promotion ceremony

    Photo By Senior Master Sgt. William Gizara | Dr. Robert Donnell, a retired Navy officer administers the oath of office to his...... read more read more



    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    SCOTIA, New York--Denise Donnell, the commander of the New York Air National Guard pinned on the second star of a major general during a ceremony held Friday, January 6 at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia.

    Donnell has commanded the largest Air National Guard in the United States – with just over 5,800 men and women in five flying wings and the Eastern Air Defense Sector—since April of 2022.

    New York Governor Kathy Hochul praised Donnell in a press release.

    “As the first woman to serve as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the New York National Guard, I’m thrilled to celebrate Major General Donnell’s historic achievements and her continued dedication to our state,” Hochul said.

    “New York is so fortunate to have individuals such as Major General Donnell who are willing to devote their careers to public service, answer the call and put themselves in harm’s way to help their fellow New Yorkers and serve their country,” the governor’s statement said.

    Major General Ray Shields, the adjutant general of New York, presided over the ceremony.

    “This is a significant day, not only for you,” he told Donnell, “but also for all the men and women of the New York Air National Guard and, indeed, all the members of the New York National Guard.”

    Donnell’s new rank was pinned on by her father Dr. Robert Donnell, a retired Navy captain, and her brother, Michigan Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. John Donnell.

    Her father also administered the oath of office to her.

    In her remarks Donnell thanked everybody who had helped her along the way during her 30-year career.

    “It’s well known that it takes a village to raise a child,” Donnell said. “That’s just as true for a general officer.”

    “I’ve had far too many leaders from commanders to chiefs to Airmen first class who have mentored, coached, and occasionally challenged me to be the best leader I could possibly be,” she said.

    “The key had been to listen to that feedback,” Donnell emphasized.

    Donnell, who served in the Navy for nine years before joining the Air National Guard, noted that her father had been there when she took her first oath of office as new ensign.
    “Dad, thanks for being here for the last one,” she said.

    She also thanked her husband Greg and children Max and Alison for their support.

    “I may be standing up here on this stage, “Donnell said,” but these stars are not about me.”

    These stars are about making a difference for you,” she added.

    Donnell began her military career as a U.S. Navy aviator in 1993, flying P-3 Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.

    She served in the Navy until 2002, when she joined the New York Air National Guard’s 105th Airlift Wing, based at Stewart Air National Guard Based in Newburgh, where she learned to fly the giant C-5A Galaxy airlifter.

    Donnell then commanded the 105th’s aircraft maintenance and maintenance squadrons –– and mastered flying the C-17 Globemaster III before transferring to the 109th Airlift Wing in 2013.

    She commanded the 109th Maintenance Group from 2013 to 2016. During that period, she qualified on the unique ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules aircraft flown by the 109th Airlift Wing and commanded Air Force support to the National Science Foundation at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, during the 2014-2015 support season.

    Donnell was assigned as vice commander of the 105th Airlift Wing in 2016 and the following year, she assumed command of the 105th Airlift Wing. She remained in that role until March 2022.

    She graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in foreign service; the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base; and the National Defense University with a master’s degree in government information leadership.

    Donnell has been awarded 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 and her husband, Greg, live in Clifton Park, New York with their children, Alison and Max.



    Date Taken: 01.06.2023
    Date Posted: 01.06.2023 17:36
    Story ID: 436378
    Location: SCOTIA, NEW YORK, US

    Web Views: 573
    Downloads: 0