Lieutenant Colonel Steven “Sauce” Piacente, a native of Yonkers, New York, graduated from the United States Naval Academy and received a commission as a Second Lieutenant on May 28, 2004. Upon completion of The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia in January 2005, he reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida for flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator on September 8, 2006. First Lieutenant Piacente reported to Marine Air Group 39 (MAG-39) aboard Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton, California to attend Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303 (HMLA/T-303) for initial AH-1W Replacement Aircrew training. Upon completion in March 2007, he reported to HMLA-169 “Vipers”.
While assigned to the “Vipers” as an AH-1W pilot, Captain Piacente deployed to Al Anbar Province, Iraq in October 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in April 2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and again to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in October 2010 in support of OEF flying a total of 572 combat missions and 925 hours.
In July 2011, Captain Piacente reported to Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) in Quantico, Virginia and served as a White House Helicopter Aircraft Commander and Command Pilot in support of President Obama until August 2015. Major Piacente remained in Quantico to attend Command and Staff College at the Marine Corps University where he earned a Master’s Degree in Military Studies from 2015 to 2016.
In May 2016, Major Piacente reported to MAG-29 at MCAS New River, North Carolina where he was assigned to HMLA-269 “Gunrunners”. During his two year tour with the “Gunrunners”, he served as the Assistant Operations Officer and Operations Officer. Following his tour with the “Gunrunners”, he reported to MAG-29 Headquarters in June 2018 and served as the MAG-29 Assistant Operations Officer.
In June 2019, Major Piacente was selected to serve as the Marine Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and received orders to the Pentagon in Washington D.C. He served as the CNO’s Marine Aide from June 2019 to December 2020. Upon leaving the Office of the CNO, Lieutenant Colonel Piacente reported to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) where he served as the Marine Corps Operational Liaison to DARPA from December 2020 to June 2021.
Lieutenant Colonel Piacente reported back to MAG-39 Headquarters aboard MCAS Camp Pendleton in August, 2021 where he served in the Operations Department until he assumed Command of HMLA-469 “Vengeance” on April 4th, 2022 and immediately deployed to Okinawa, Japan for UDP 22.2. Upon return from the deployment, HMLA-469 was deactivated on December 16th, 2022 and LtCol Piacente then reactivated and assumed Command of HMLA-367 “Scarface”.
Lieutenant Colonel Piacente has accumulated over 2900 flight hours in the AH-1W, AH-1Z, CH-46E, VH-60N and VH-3D aircraft. His personal decorations include three Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medal with Strike/Flight Numeral 14, three Individual Action Air Medals with combat ‘V’ distinguishing device, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and the Presidential Service Badge.