Peyerl: fourth man from Churchill County to become a brigadier general
By Steve Ranson / Nevada News Group
STEAD AASF–An Army officer who described himself as a humble, yet disciplined soldier and likes to get dirty and train hard was promoted Friday at the Army Aviation Support Facility north of Reno to become the state’s newest brigadier general in the Nevada National Guard.
Brig. Gen. Michael S. Peyerl, a 1991 graduate of Churchill County School and the University of Nevada, Reno four years later, becomes the fourth man from Fallon during the past 20 years to be promoted to a general officer rank. Currently, Brig. Gen. Michael Hanifan serves in the Nevada Army National Guard, while Randall Sayre and Todd Plimpton each retired as brigadier generals.
Peyerl’s last assignment was as chief of staff for state’s Army National Guard, which serves approximately 3,200 soldiers in addition to civilian employees.
In his remarks, Peyerl said he he’s humble and grateful to serve the men and women of the Nevada Guard. During the past two years since the coronavirus pandemic altered how people worked and lived, Peyerl faced many difficult challenges as chief of staff. More than 1,00 Nevada Guard men and women deployed across the state and into almost every community to assist with the pandemic.
“The work we did had a direct impact in the community we live in,” he said.
Peyerl said several hundred soldiers and airmen from the Nevada Guard flew to Washington, D.C. to perform a capital mission in January 2021, and more than 600 personnel deployed overseas to perform contingency operations. Meanwhile, the Guard supported firefighters and law enforcement during the numerous forest and wildland fires consumed thousands of acres in neighboring states.
On several occasions during his speech, Peyerl said the National Guard is always ready, always there.
Peyerl said partnerships were critical in building the communities. He thanked both Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve and Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford.
“I feel a special bond to the rural communities,” Peyerl said of the city where he attended elementary and high school. “Fallon will always be my home.”
Peyerl thanked representatives from the congressional delegations for attending both Gov. Steve Sisolak and Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, the adjutant general, for their remarks. He also mentioned the role of local law enforcement officers and how they served the community 24/7.
Peyerl stopped and glazed over the audience.
“I am grateful to have served with each and every one of you today,” he said. “I am grateful for your leadership, your trust and your mentorship.”
Peyerl thanked friends and family for attending, but specifically singled out members of his family. He thanked his high-school sweetheart and wife, Andrea, along with their son Austin, who will be a freshman in the fall at the University of Nevada, Reno and his mother Phyllis, who all attended the promotion.
“My family is my life,” Peyerl said. “It is one of the primary factors that drives my sense of service,” he added.
Peyerl said he and other military members have had varying reasons for serving in the armed forces. For many, they chose to serve their country and community. Peyerl’s inspiration came from his grandfather and father.
“My grandfather served during World War II as a gunner on a B24 Liberator. He was shot down and killed … that’s tough,” Peyerl said, adding his grandfather was on a bombing mission over Germany.
Peyerl’s father served in the U.S. Navy and went to Vietnam. His mother also served in the Navy.
In his new assignment Peyerl will command the J9 section which includes specific commands from both the Nevada Air and Army National Guard. His focus will oversee domestic operations, soldier care and education that will fall under his command. Peyerl now reports directly to Berry. Peyerl completed his Masters of Science degree from National Defense University.
During his years on active duty, Peyerl was a tank platoon leader and tank company executive officer with the 2-72 Armor Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division in the Republic of Korea and then as a support platoon leader with the 1-64 Armor 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He was also a professor of Military Science at the University of San Francisco before he joined the Nevada Army National Guard in in 2005.
His assignments in the Nevada Guard include executive officer of the 422nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, which deployed to Afghanistan in January 2011 for one year; director of Manpower and Personnel; squadron commander of the 1-221 Armor in Las Vegas; and deputy chief of staff.
Berry commended Peyerl for his last assignment. He said chief of staff is the hardest job in the Army National Guard because it requires numerous day-to-day responsibilities. Now, Berry said, all eyes will be on Peyerl and what he does in the future.
“When you make general officer, everybody is watching every move you make and every move you don’t make,” he said. “You won’t make everybody happy.”
Berry exhorted Peyerl to fight for his soldiers ad be the champion of change and to tell the Nevada National Guard story everywhere he goes.
“It is a privilege to serve our citizens,” Berry said. “They have given us the responsibility to lead their sons and daughters.”
In his introductory remarks at the beginning of the program, Sisolak commended Peyerl on his promotion and told the audience that Nevada has the best National Guard in the United States. As commander in chief of the Nevada National Guard, Sisolak said 2.3 million people who call Nevada home thank Peyerl for his service and recognized the three other guardsmen from Fallon who have earned the rank of general.
“Serving as governor of the great State of Nevada has been truly been the honor of my lifetime,” Sisolak said.