Leaders can often attribute a specific time in their lives that helped shape their future.
For Col. Michael D. Pyott, the Professor of Military Science at North Georgia who is retiring this year, that came on his first trip to North Georgia from Delaware as a high school student.
“I fell in love with this campus, like so many high school students do, and decided this is the only place I could go to school,” said Pyott.
While attending North Georgia, Pyott was involved in many extracurricular activities.
He was a member of the Aggressor Platoon all four years, where he held the positions of First Sergeant and Company Commander, and served as the Charlie Company Commander during his senior year.
Pyott was also an active brother in the Sigma Nu fraternity, and served as a member of the College Union Board, known now as the Student Activity Board.
In 1988, he graduated as a second lieutenant with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and went into the Army’s aviation branch.
When Pyott reached his first duty station, he was surprised to see there were only 35 soldiers in his formation.
Though surprised, he said he was fully prepared for the task at hand.
“The Corps of Cadets prepared me for the active Army more than anything else I can think of, honestly. I’ve actually commanded larger forces in the Corps of Cadets than I have in many years in the Army,” Pyott said.
Pyott has has been deployed in three major conflicts, including Desert Storm (Kuwait and Iraq), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Pyott is also a Senior Parachutist and an Army helicopter pilot.
In 2008, Pyott returned to North Georgia. There were some definite changes that he noticed when he returned, one of the most noticeable being the professionalism of Frog Week.
“When I attended as a Cadet, all I remember about Frog Week was punishments and pushups. It wasn’t as professional. What our Cadets are doing now versus what I did when I was here, is more professional and the Cadets are better trained,” said Pyott.
Pyott offered some advice for current and future Cadets:
1) Stay on top of academics. It drives your success for not only rank in the Corps of Cadets, but for your desired Army branch as well.
2) Stay physically fit. Your physical fitness is if utmost importance and demonstrates leadership within your platoon.
3) Keep up with current events. What goes on in the world not only affects those in that area, but also affects you.
Pyott will be retiring and leaving North Georgia at the end of this semester but said he plans to stay in the area.