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Nick Giusti ’08

Nick Giusti ’08 is a warrant officer in the U.S. Army, piloting Apache helicopters and training others to do the same. By chance, he reconnected with a fellow Green Terror alum who also became a warrant officer, and it reconnected him to his memories of the Hill.

Nick Giusti holds up a McDaniel football jersey in front of a helicopter while stationed in Syria.

Nick Giusti holds up a football jersey he received from McDaniel Athletics during a 2022 deployment in Syria.

Q&A with Nick Giusti '08

What made you choose McDaniel?
I chose McDaniel for one major reason, and that was to follow in the footsteps of my brother Joe Giusti ’05, who was a senior at McDaniel when I made my decision to attend. We both played football on the Hill, and I followed his lead and wore the same number: 42. He has always been the one person I looked up to and wanted to emulate as much as possible. Over the course of Joe’s tenure at McDaniel, I had built relationships with the coaching staff, and it just felt natural to follow his path to the Hill.
What did you appreciate most about studying History on the Hill?
History was one of those subjects that I always gravitated toward. I really enjoy learning about how the past wars shaped where we are today. In college I really focused on those conflicts and their respective leaders. This has allowed me to have a better understanding of conflicts today in terms of world leaders, politics, and how battlefield generals go about the decision-making process. It’s given me a better perspective on where we stand in the world.
How did the liberal arts curriculum prepare you for your career?
Being on the Hill and playing football allowed me to become friends with people from all different backgrounds. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen at non-liberal arts colleges, but McDaniel is such a small community that you really are forced to interact with almost everyone. Then fast-forward to the military, which is literally a melting pot of people from all over the country with different backgrounds, hobbies, and cultures. We’re all forced to work together and grow into this big Army family. So, McDaniel helped prepare me for such a diverse workplace.
How did you go from History major to Army helicopter pilot?
While I was on the Hill, I had no intention of joining the military. My plan was always to get into teaching and remain in the sports world, either through coaching or as an athletic director. When I graduated, I started teaching at a couple of schools for adjudicated youth in the Maryland and Pennsylvania area, and I just never found myself happy with what I was doing. I wanted more from life. I started looking into the military because it reminded me a lot of what I was looking for, that team mentality, training, and preparation, staying in shape and allowing myself to have that outlet that sports always provided for me. That led me into the military realm.
How did your military career begin?
I decided to join the military in 2012, starting in the Air Force. I began my career as a body bearer for the United States Air Force Honor Guard, stationed in Washington, D.C. I carried caskets for four to six funerals a day at Arlington National Cemetery. It was truly an honor to be a part of those ceremonies at Arlington; I will never forget how it felt to fold the flag and pass it to the family.
While in the Honor Guard, I heard about the Army’s warrant officer program, where I could go fly helicopters. The minute I heard about this program, I put everything I had into getting accepted into it. After only two years in the Air Force, I transitioned over to the Army as a warrant officer in 2014.
I spent two years in flight school, before I was sent to my first unit up in Fort Drum, New York. I was in my new unit for only three months before my first combat deployment to Iraq. All in all, I’ve had four deployments over the last six and a half years. I’ve attended career advancement schools such as the Instructor Pilot Course, Instrument Flight Examiner course, and transition course to fly the newest version of the Apache (the Echo model). Now I’m the senior warrant officer of my troop.
What does your day-to-day look like?
As a standardization pilot and instrument examiner, my day is usually filled with taking the other aviators out to do training or evaluation flights to make sure they are still proficient in the aircraft. I also ensure the unit is doing the proper training to continue to become more tactically sound and that we are prepared for whatever may come next. Overall, just making sure everyone is doing the right thing, and holding the guys accountable if they aren’t meeting the standard.
You ended up stationed in the same location as fellow McDaniel alum Zach Nibbelink ’14. What was it like to discover McDaniel community so far from the Hill?
Being able to work with a fellow Green Terror alum is truly a unique experience, and I don’t think it will ever happen again, so I’m making sure to enjoy it while we can. It has brought back a lot of memories. I spent a lot of time in the training room in college getting physical therapy treatment from Zach’s dad, Gregg Nibbelink. Being away for almost 15 years and moving all over the world, you lose those connections. Working with a fellow Green Terror has allowed me to think back on my time on the Hill and the relationships I developed in my college years.
What lessons from McDaniel do you carry with you every day?
I didn’t have the work ethic I did in college that I do now, however I really started to develop and shape my current work ethic while at McDaniel.
What advice would you give to current McDaniel students about creating a community that lasts beyond graduation?
Don’t forget about the people you grew with during college — stay in touch when you can. Our community is unique, in that it’s very small compared to other colleges, so when you have the opportunity to catch up, or say hello, do it. A lot of personal growth happens in your college years and the people you spend those years with will always be a part of who you are today.

About Nick

Career: Warrant Officer, Standardization Pilot, and Instrument Examiner in the U.S. Army 

Class: 2008 

 Major: History

Below: Nick and his wife Meghan, who he met in the Army, together during a deployment in Syria.