On Saturday 27 October 2018 at 1 pm the 2018 Veteran of the Year Award Ceremony was held at the New York State Military Museum. The Annual Award was Co-Sponsored by the Friends of the New York State Military Museum and the Capital District of New York Chapter of the Association of the US Army. Presenting was Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, and remarks by Col. John Andonie, Chief of Staff to the Adjutant General, NY National Guard.
The 2018 Awardee was LTC (Ret) Nicholas M. Laiacona, who served as a Platoon Leader and Company Commander in the Mobile Riverine Force (MRF), 9th Infantry Division, Mekong Delta, Republic of Vietnam. Nick entered the Army in 1966, graduated from Infantry Officers Candidate School in 1967 and upon returning to the US after Vietnam transferred to the Ordnance Corps. He served in a number of Ordnance assignments in the US, Germany and Korea. In 1985 he was selected as one of the first certified US Army Material Acquisition Managers and became one of the first officers in the Army Acquisition Corps. Nick retired with over 24 years of service on 31 January 1991. Nick’s awards and decorations include the Combat Infantry Badge, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC), Bronze Star for Valor with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, 3 Air Medals, Army Commendation Medal for Valor with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal with star, Vietnam Service Medal with 4 stars, Korean Defense Medal and other US and Vietnam service awards. He is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College, the Program Management Course, the Materiel Acquisition Management Course and was distinguished Graduate of the Management of Defense Acquisition Contracts Course.