Cmdr. Michael Peterson enters his second year as a volunteer coach and officer representative for the Air Force water polo team. Peterson is currently an instructor assigned to the Department of Military Strategic Studies at USAFA and holds a master's degree in security studies.
Peterson is a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he captained the water polo team and acted as the assistant coach following commissioning and before entering flight training. He also represented East team in the 1989 U.S. Olympic Festival.
His previous assignment was as the Executive Officer of U.S. Navy Support Facility, Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, where he was responsible for more than 2,500 military, civilian, and contract personnel who maintain and operate facilities and provide services and materials in support of afloat units, operating forces on forward deployment, and joint tenant shore activities supporting the Global War on Terror.
During his career, he has served in several strike fighter squadron assignments as an F-14 Tomcat Radar Intercept Officer and, later, as an F/A-18F Super Hornet Weapon Systems Officer. He is a 1997 Navy Fighter Weapon School graduate and former Weapon's School Instructor. He has taken direct part in combat in Operations ALLIED FORCE, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM, flying mainly as a Carrier Air Wing Strike Lead and Forward Air Controller.
Peterson has over 2,700 flight hours in strike fighter aircraft including over 370 combat hours. His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Individual Air Medal with Combat "V" (three awards), Strike Flight Air Medal (eight awards), and Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" (six awards).
Peterson resides in Colorado Springs. He and his wife of 15 years, Charlotte, have three girls, ages 9, 7 and 3.