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Wing comes together to congratulate promotees

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- More than 15 Airmen were promoted to E-3 through E-6 during a basewide promotion recognition ceremony on April 6, 2014. Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th Airlift Wing command chief, said she hopes the promotion recognition ceremonies will boost morale and promote wing cohesiveness. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin German/Released)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- More than 15 Airmen were promoted to E-3 through E-6 during a basewide promotion recognition ceremony on April 6, 2014. Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th Airlift Wing command chief, said she hopes the promotion recognition ceremonies will boost morale and promote wing cohesiveness. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin German/Released)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- 109th Airlift Wing Airmen from all different sections on base cheer on their peers during a promotion recogntion ceremony for E-3s through E-6s on April 6, 2014. Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th Airlift Wing command chief, said she hopes the promotion recognition ceremonies will boost morale and promote wing cohesiveness. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin German/Released)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- 109th Airlift Wing Airmen from all different sections on base cheer on their peers during a promotion recogntion ceremony for E-3s through E-6s on April 6, 2014. Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th Airlift Wing command chief, said she hopes the promotion recognition ceremonies will boost morale and promote wing cohesiveness. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin German/Released)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- 109th Airlift Wing Airmen from all different sections on base cheer on their peers during a promotion recogntion ceremony for E-3s through E-6s on April 6, 2014. Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th Airlift Wing command chief, said she hopes the promotion recognition ceremonies will boost morale and promote wing cohesiveness. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin German/Released)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- 109th Airlift Wing Airmen from all different sections on base cheer on their peers during a promotion recogntion ceremony for E-3s through E-6s on April 6, 2014. Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th Airlift Wing command chief, said she hopes the promotion recognition ceremonies will boost morale and promote wing cohesiveness. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin German/Released)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- Chief Master Sgt. Richard King, New York Air National Guard command chief, holds the spirit stick as he decides which section showed the most spirit during the promotion recogntion ceremony April 6, 2014. This is the second basewide ceremony for E-3s through E-6s held here. Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th Airlift Wing command chief, said she hopes the promotion recognition ceremonies will boost morale and promote wing cohesiveness. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin German/Released)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- Chief Master Sgt. Richard King, New York Air National Guard command chief, holds the spirit stick as he decides which section showed the most spirit during the promotion recogntion ceremony April 6, 2014. This is the second basewide ceremony for E-3s through E-6s held here. Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th Airlift Wing command chief, said she hopes the promotion recognition ceremonies will boost morale and promote wing cohesiveness. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin German/Released)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- Airmen of the 109th Force Support Squadron celebrate after Chief Master Sgt. Richard King, New York Air National Guard command chief, named them the winner of the promotion recognition ceremony spirit stick on April 6, 2014. Airmen throughout the 109th Airlift Wing gathered to cheer on their peers who were being promoted during the ceremony. (Air Natiional Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin German/Released)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- Airmen of the 109th Force Support Squadron celebrate after Chief Master Sgt. Richard King, New York Air National Guard command chief, named them the winner of the promotion recognition ceremony spirit stick on April 6, 2014. Airmen throughout the 109th Airlift Wing gathered to cheer on their peers who were being promoted during the ceremony. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin German/Released)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- Airmen packed the Dining Facility on April 6 to cheer on their fellow Airmen who were getting promoted to the ranks of airman first class through technical sergeant.

This was the second promotion recognition ceremony the base has held for the junior ranking Airmen on the base. Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th Airlift Wing command chief, said in an earlier article that she hoped these basewide promotion recognition ceremonies would promote wing cohesiveness and boost morale.

"I want everyone to realize that their promotions are important," she said. "I heard someone who was being promoted to E-6 say that it was no big deal. ... I think that EVERY promotion is a big deal. It is important and a great way to recognize members in front of their peers."

"I do feel this type of ceremony will help with unit cohesiveness and boost morale because no matter what squadron you come from, the 109th is and will always be one big family," said Tech. Sgt. Anastasios Mantzouris, of the 109th Logistics Readiness Squadron who was one of the newly promoted Airmen being recognized. "I have heard many individuals say they wish there would be more Wing functions, and this can be one of those functions. It doesn't matter if someone in your section/squadron is being promoted or not, going and giving up a little of your time to congratulate an Airman is the right thing to do, and it should be something everyone wants to do."

Morale and cohesiveness were apparent in the audience as each section was there to support their co-workers in the most spirited way they could. Force Support Squadron banged pots and pans together whenever one of their Airmen was called for their next stripe. Security Forces cheered loudly and shot Nerf darts at their promotees. Logistics Readiness Squadron was there with signs, noisemakers and confetti. And the Medical Group donned surgical masks and gloves as they cheered and held up signs for their peers.

To make things a little more interesting, a spirit stick, made by Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Gifford and his son, Nicholas, was up for grabs for the section that showed the most spirit. In the first ceremony held in December, the Medical Group was awarded the spirit stick. This time, Chief Master Sgt. Richard King, New York Air National Guard command chief, was the guest judge who would make the call - Force Support Squadron.

"I think this program is good for the units," said Senior Master Sgt. Peter Latniak, 109th Force Support Squadron's Base Services manager. "It brings Airmen together to form ideas enabling them to think outside the box to figure out how they can outdo other units to win the 'spirit stick.' It is also helping build camaraderie amongst members within their units."

While the spirit stick was maybe the most coveted item in the room, the real recognition went to the newly promoted Airmen in a ceremony that for most of them, was their most memorable yet.

"It was very motivating to have that kind of support from not only my peers, but also the leadership within my section," said newly promoted Senior Airman Xenia Wieland, 109th Medical Group. "This will definitely be a memorable promotion, and with it being my first, it will help keep me driven to strive for excellence toward my future promotions."

"Congratulations to all of you, it is well deserved," King said to the newly promoted Airmen. "Promotions in the Air National Guard aren't just given anymore, they're earned."