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Brigadier General Denise Donnell

Commander, New York Air National Guard

Brigadier General Denise Donnell, Commander, New York Air National GuardAir Force Brig. Gen. Denise Donnell, who served in the United States Navy from 1993 to 2002, is a command pilot with over 4,400 hours of flying time, including 280 hours in combat.

She has flown the Navy's P-3 Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft, and the Air Force's C-5A Galaxy, LC-130 Hercules “Skibird” and the C-17 Globemaster III and has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels.

As a naval aviator, Donnell served as an evaluator pilot, mission commander, quality assurance officer assigned to Patrol Squadron 46, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. Prior to joining the New York Air National Guard, she served as operational test director assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

Donnell joined the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York in 2002 and qualified to fly the C-5A Galaxy, the largest aircraft flown in the United States Air Force.

She served as an aircraft commander and pilot scheduler in the wing's 137th Airlift Squadron and then went on to command the 105th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 105th Maintenance Squadron. Donnell also qualified on the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft the 105th Airlift Wing now flies.

In 2013, she was assigned to the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, New York, as the commander of 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, which are the largest ski-equipped planes in the world.

Donnell served as the commander of the 13th Air Expeditionary Group at the U.S. National Science Foundation research base at McMurdo Station Antarctica during the 2014 - 2015 Antarctic support season.

In 2016, she was assigned as vice commander of the 105th Airlift Wing and in 2017 she assumed command of the 105th Airlift Wing. She handed over that role to Col. Gary Charlton II on March 6, 2022.

Donnell is a graduate of Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Foreign Service. She is also a graduate of the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, and a Distinguished Graduate with a Master of Science degree in Government Information Leadership from the National Defense University.

She is also a graduate of the Joint and Combined Warfighting School and the Air Command and Staff College, as well as the National Security Management Course at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

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 and her husband, Greg Szczesny, Chief Operating Officer of Cogento Systems, LLC and Board President of the Twin Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America, live in Clifton Park. They have a daughter and son who are both active in Scouting.

Current as of April 2022

© NYS DMNA: New York Air National Guard