Michael J. Pitts 1978 JC


Michael J. Pitts entered New Mexico Military Institute in the summer of 1976 after graduating high school in Monument, Colorado.  He attended Reserve Officer Training Corps basic camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky and spent his second class year in “I” Troop.  He then attended Airborne and Ranger schools and spent his first class year in “M” Troop.  He received Distinguished Military Student status upon graduation from New Mexico Military Institute and then attended the University of Colorado. He graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate and received his Army commission as a Second Lieutenant in Military Intelligence.  He spent twenty two combined years in the Army and the Air Force Reserves.    

U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appointed Mr. Pitts to the Senior Executive Service (SES) in 2008.   As the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office Director, San Antonio, Texas, Mr. Pitts led a staff of 800 government employees and managed a 150 million dollar budget.  He orchestrated enforcement, civil detention and removal operations in 54 Texas counties including resident offices in Harlingen and San Antonio, sub offices in Del Rio, Waco and Austin and facilities in Laredo, Los Fresnos, Raymondville, Pearsall and Taylor.

Before his SES appointment, Mr. Pitts served as chief ERO Flight Operations Unit (FOU), Kansas City Missouri.  The FOU oversaw ICE interests in the justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System and coordinated ERO international air charters.  Previously, Michael served as Director Unmanned Aircraft System Program Office, Office of the Air and Marine, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Washington, DC; his office procured and operated Predator B aircraft systems along the northern and southern tiers of the United States.  Michael served as Chief of Staff, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) during its transition from U.S. Customs Service to ICE and then CBP after Congress created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003.

Michael Pitts entered the U.S. Customs Service and attended the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Glynco, Georgia in 1991.  He flew the C-550 Citation jet and the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter at the Houston aviation branch; he became a Pilot-in-Command in the C-550 and UH-60 at the Tucson Aviation Branch and served as the branch operations officer and an aviation group supervisor.  As a Customs pilot, Michael safely logged over 1500 incident-free flight hours; Air and Marine Operations awarded him an Ace 5 for 50 enforcement missions resulting in significant arrests and/or seizures.  Before transferring to AMO Headquarters in 2004, the U.S. Air Force activated his reserve squadron in 2002 and he spent his last year of military service on active duty as a combat Search and Rescue Operations Officer and HH-60G Command Pilot supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Kuwait.


Michael Pitts also holds master’s degrees from Shippensburg University and the U.S. Army War College; he now works as a consultant for homeland defense and security issues.  Throughout his military and law enforcement career he has exemplified the New Mexico Military Institute credo of Duty, Honor and Achievement



Inducted for Eminence in Field of Endeavor this twenty third day of October, in the year 2015.