Mike Peterson was born in 1952 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on May 22, 1974, and went on active duty beginning June 7, 1974. After completing the Basic Communications-Electronics Maintenance Officer Course at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, Lt Peterson served as a maintenance officer with the 1st Aerospace Communications Group at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, from December 1974 to January 1978, followed by service as Chief of Maintenance for the 2020th Communications Squadron at Shaw AFB, South Carolina, from February 1978 to December 1979. His next assignment was as Commander of Detachment 179 of the U.S. Logistics Group in Malatya, Turkey, from January to December 1980, and then as a student in the Air Force Institute of Technology program and the Telecommunications Systems Staff Officer Course at Keesler AFB from January to November 1981. Capt Peterson next served as a communications-electronics management staff officer with the Air Force Military Personnel Center at Randolph AFB, Texas, from November 1981 to December 1984, followed by service as Commander of the 2037th Communications Squadron at Luke AFB, Arizona. He served as a staff officer in the C3 Systems Directorate on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon from February 1988 to July 1991, and attended the Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from August 1991 to June 1992. Col Peterson next attended Undergraduate Space Training at Lowry AFB, Colorado, and then served as Commander of the 1st Space Surveillance Squadron at Verona, New York, from August 1992 to June 1993. His next assignment was as Commander of the 73rd Space Group at Falcon AFB, Colorado, from June 1993 to May 1995, and then as Commander of the 609th Air Communications Squadron at Shaw AFB, South Carolina, from June 1995 to December 1996. During this time, Col Peterson deployed to Southwest Asia and served as Chief of Communications and Information Systems with Joint Task Force Southwest Asia in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from October 1995 to February 1996. He then served as Director of Communications and Information Systems with Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein AB, Germany, from December 1996 to June 2000, during which time he participated in Operation Allied Force in the Balkans. Gen Peterson was Director of Communications and Information Systems with Headquarters Air Combat Command at Langley AFB, Virginia, from June 2000 to May 2002, and then served as Commander of the 81st Training Wing at Keesler AFB from May 2002 to April 2004. His next assignment was as Deputy Commander for Global Strike and Air Component Coordination Element Director for Strategic Air Forces with Air Combat Command at Offutt AFB, followed by service on the staff of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt AFB from January to June 2005. Gen Peterson served as Director of Information, Services, and Integration for the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Warfighting Integration and as Chief Information Officer in the Pentagon from July to November 2005, and then served as Chief of Warfighting Integration and Chief Information Officer in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force in the Pentagon from November 2005 until his retirement from the Air Force on February 1, 2009.
His Bronze Star Medal Citation reads:
Colonel Michael W. Peterson distinguished himself by meritorious achievement as Director, Communications and Information, while engaged in ground operations against an opposing armed force at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, from 24 March 1999 to 10 June 1999. Colonel Peterson's outstanding leadership of the communications community supporting 38 bases, were instrumental to the operations success of Operation ALLIED FORCE. He led over 1,200 personnel across Europe, directing and controlling every facet of communication for the air war. Under his expert direction, theater planners implemented the largest and most sophisticated communications architecture in the history of armed conflict. He drove the Combined Air Operations Center, pioneered the use of reception teams to provide initial communications at beddown bases and sourced 1,186 additional personnel for maximum support to the operation. The exemplary leadership, personal endeavor, and devotion to duty displayed by Colonel Peterson in this responsible reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.