Major Piston is a native of New York and grew up in Boonsboro, Maryland. He attended college at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Maryland where he attained a Bachelor of Science in Geography (2009). Following college, he attended OCS and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps on 08 August 2009. After commissioning he was placed on inactive ready reserve, along with his OCS Company, to await funding to proceed to TBS. Inactive ready reserve time concluded near the end of October 2009 and 2ndLt Piston reported to TBS in Quantico Virginia in October of 2009 to attend course 1-10 with A Company and completed the course with them in May of 2010. After the conclusion of TBS, 2ndLt Piston reported to H&S Battalion on Quantico for training while awaiting orders to flight school to become a Naval Aviator. Starting in June, 2ndLt Piston was assigned to cultural and language training for the Balkans region, facilitated by the Center for Advanced Operational Culture and Learning (CAOCL). The course ended in December 2010 and 2ndLt Piston received orders to begin flight training in Pensacola, Florida.
In January of 2011, 2ndLt Piston reported to Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21 (MATSG-21) to begin aviation pre-flight indoctrination ground-school, introductory flight screening on the Cessna-172, and primary flight training with Training Squadron 2 (VT-2) on the T-34C Turbo Mentor at Whiting Field. At the completion of initial flight training, now 1stLt Piston reported the Helicopter Training Squadron 28 (HT-28) for intermediate level training on the TH-57 Sea Ranger. He completed that stage in February of 2012, and received new orders to Corpus Christi, Texas for Advanced multi-engine flight training with VT-35 on the TC-12 Huron. On 03 August 2012, 1stLt Piston received his wings and was designated a Naval Aviator in the United States Marine Corps and subsequently reported to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 (VMMT-204) to learn to operate his assigned fleet aircraft, the MV-22B Osprey. He was designated Tiltrotor Second Pilot (T2P) at the conclusion of training and ordered to his first fleet squadron in Okinawa, Japan.
On 22 February 2013, 1stLt Piston Arrived in Okinawa, Japan and reported to Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 36 on Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma where he worked in the operations department while waiting for Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 262 to return from deployment. Following their return, he then reported to that squadron and assisted in the transition from HMM-262 to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262. While with VMM-262, 1stLt Piston participated in detachments and exercises to the Philippines, Korea, and Mainland Japan as well as a deployment aboard the USS PELELIU (LHA-5) with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). During this time, he was able to fly missions during OPERATION DAMAYAN in support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations after the passage of super-typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In November of 2014, now Capt Piston extended his tour in Okinawa and reported to the VMM-265 Dragons, also on MCAS Futenma. While with the Dragons, Capt Piston planned and participated in exercises, detachments, and long-range missions across the PACOM AOR including the Philippines, Korea, Mainland Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Palau, Saipan, Guam, and two patrols with the 31st MEU aboard the USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD-6). During his time with the Dragons he was qualified and designated as a Tiltrotor Aircraft Commander, Functional Check Pilot (FCP), Tiltrotor Section Leader, Low Altitude Tactics Instructor, and was able to attend and pass the academic portion of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 1-17 prior to providing support as a dedicated MV-22B FCP for the class.
Captain Piston departed from Okinawa in February 2017 and reported to VMMT-204 in March 2017 where he served as an instructor pilot for the MV-22B Osprey. He has since been qualified and designated as a Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor, Instrument Evaluator, Tiltrotor Division Leader, Reduced Visibility Landing Instructor, Night Systems Instructor, Standardization Instructor, and Assistant NATOPS Instructor. In July of 2019, now Major Piston was reassigned to the Operations Department in MAG-26, serving as the Assistant Operations Officer and Future Operations Officer. Following his tour in the MAG-26 Operations Department, Major Piston reported to VMM-261 as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer in December 2019 and then subsequently to VMM-162 in July 2020 as the squadron’s Operations Officer for its deployment with the 24th MEU aboard the USS IWO JIMA. During his time with VMM-162 (REIN) he became the squadron’s NATOPs Instructor and earned the designation of Air Mission Commander.