Fallon man to become Nevada Guard’s newest general

Fallon man to become Nevada Guard’s newest general
Col. Michael Peyerl will become Nevada’s newest general when he’s promoted Friday in a ceremony at the Nevada Army National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility at Stead. Peyerl is talking to soldiers in Las Vegas in 2021. Nevada National Guard photo

Peyerl is assuming a new role as a Joint Staff director

By Steve Ranson, Nevada News Group

STEAD–Col. Michael Peyerl will become the Nevada Army National Guard’s newest general on Friday in a promotion ceremony at the Nevada Army National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility at Stead.

The ceremony begins at noon at the AASF, 20000 Army Aviation Drive, North Hangers (UH60) north of Reno. A reception immediately follows the event. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Facebook at https://fb.me/e/2OY63RnJ0.

Peyerl succeeds Brig. Gen. Michael Hanifan, who has announced his retirement effective March 1. Coincidentally, both Peyerl and Hanifan grew up in Fallon and attended Churchill County schools. Peyerl graduated in 1991, and Hanifan in 1982.

Col. Michael Peyerl will be promoted Friday to the rank of brigadier general.   Nevada National Guard photo
Col. Michael Peyerl will be promoted Friday to the rank of brigadier general. Nevada National Guard photo

Churchill County is also home to two other retired National Guard generals: Randall Sayre, a 1971 Churchill County High School graduate, served as Nevada’s assistant adjutant general from 2003-2006, and Todd Plimpton, a 1983 graduate, was Oregon’s assistant adjutant general and then Commander, Land Component Command from 2010 to 2016.

“I am transitioning into more of a directorate of Joint Staff position,” Peyerl said. “I moved out of the chief of staff position after the New Year’s Eve mission in Las Vegas.”

Peyerl is becoming the first commander of the J9 section that encompasses specific commands from both the Nevada Air and Army National Guard. He said he will predominately focus on domestic operations as will most functions dealing with soldier care and education that will fall under his command. Peyerl now reports directly to Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, the state’s adjutant general.

“The Department of Emergency Management now falls under the Nevada Military Department,” Peyerl said. The Nevada Legislature changed the oversight of DEM from the Department of Public Safety to the Nevada Guard after the last legislative session.

“The DEM will work directly with the adjutant general an stay in alignment with the current mission we’re doing in both northern and southern Nevada,” Peyerl said.

Peyerl, a distinguished military graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), graduated in 1995 as a second lieutenant in armor. He also holds a Bachelor’s of Science from the National Defense University. He first served as 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. 

After his tour in Georgia, Peyerl became a professor of Military Science at the University of San Francisco before joining the Nevada Army National Guard in 2005.

Peyerl has held a number of positions in the Nevada Army National Guard beginning as an office recruiter. In 2008, he was assigned as the executive officer of the 422nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion that deployed to Afghanistan in January 2011 for one year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Since that time, Peyerl has served as a director of Manpower and Personnel, squadron commander of the 1-221 Armor in Las Vegas, deputy chief of staff for personnel and chief of staff from 2020 to January 2022.

Peyerl has attended many military schools to include Armor Officer Basic Course, Armor Captain’s Career Course, Combined Arms Services and Staff School, ILE Common Core and the Advanced Operations Course.  His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (4th Award), Army Commendation Medal (4th Award), Army Achievement Medal (2nd Award), Parachutist Badge and the National Guard Recruiting and Retention Basic Badge. Peyerl is married to his high-school sweetheart, Andrea (nee Ellington), who also grew up in Fallon, and they have one son, Austin.

Gen. Michael Hanifan, pictured in August 2017 with former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, was recognized for his service as Commander of Army Guard before becoming the assistant adjutant general. Nevada News Group file photo
Gen. Michael Hanifan, pictured in August 2017 with former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, was recognized for his service as Commander of Army Guard before becoming the assistant adjutant general. Nevada News Group file photo

Hanifan became the Commander Army Guard on Sept. 7, 2013, and assistant adjutant general in 2017. Hanifan graduated from Churchill County High School and received a congressional nomination in 1982 to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He graduated in 1986 with a degree in engineering physics. From 1986 to 1996, he served in various positions as an active-duty military intelligence officer. One of his assignments was with the 9th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

In 1996, he left the Army and transferred to the Individual Readiness Reserves. Two years later, he joined the Nevada Army National Guard as a major. Hanifan was no stranger to the Nevada Army National Guard. His father John was commander of the Fallon unit in the 1950s.

Hanifan’s assignment director of Training and Mobilization; deputy commander of the 17th Sustainment Brigade; battalion commander of the 1/421st Regional Training Institute; commander, headquarters State Area Command(STARC): deputy directorate of Training and Operations; and state command inspection program coordinator. Hanifan also holds a National Guard position as deputy commander of the Intel Center of Excellence at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. 

In 2008, he directed and coordinated Vigilant Guard 2008, the largest domestic operations training exercise to respond to a natural disaster in the history of the Nevada National Guard. In civilian life, Hanifan works for Bentley Nevada/Baker-Hughes in Minden. He and his wife, Denise, live in Indian Hills, Douglas County, and they have two sons, Timothy and Matthew.

Hanifan’s military school includes the Military Intelligence Officers Basic Course; U.S. Army War College (Distance Learning), where he earned a Masters in Strategic Studies; the Support Operations Course; Command and General Staff College; Military Intelligence Advanced and Basic Officers Courses with an emphasis on Electronic Warfare; Transportation Officers Transition Course; Intelligence in Combating Terrorism; and the U.S. Army Jump School.

Hanifan has been awarded the Legion of Merit; the Air Force Achievement medal; the Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Achievement Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters; and the Humanitarian Service Medal.