NYAMA Member Profile: NYAMA President and
Albany International Airport Assistant John DelBalso

There’s an old joke about a U.S. Marine drill instructor who asks for a volunteer to step forward—and all but one of the Marines in formation take a step backward.

“Thank you, private!” the staff sergeant barks at the Marine left standing alone. “Now go clean the head!”

The joke has a kernel of truth to it: There’s a simple mantra in the military that goes something like, “Never volunteer for anything.”

It’s a phrase NYAMA President and U.S. Marine veteran John DelBalso often has heard during his career—he just doesn’t buy it.

“My M.O. has always been to try to get involved in everything I could,” says DelBalso, who applied that philosophy throughout his nearly 10 years in the Marine Corps. His try-anything attitude in the service ultimately led to an assignment as a CH-53 helicopter crew chief in Somalia during Operation Restore Hope, followed by a high-profile position with the Marine One helicopter squadron; DelBalso frequently saluted President Clinton as he arrived and departed on the White House lawn from 1994 to 1999.

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