Colonel Clifford A. Souza is the commander of the 109th Operations Group, 109th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard Base, Schenectady, New York. As Operations Group Commander, Colonel Souza oversees LC-130 and C-130 tactical aircrews, aeromedical evacuation crews, and operations support personnel to achieve Department of Defense objectives in the Polar Regions and across the globe.
Colonel Souza graduated from Bayport-Blue Point High School in Long Island, New York, and enlisted in the New York Air National Guard at Westhampton Beach, New York in 1985. He served as a weather observer and forecaster supporting the New York Army National Guard’s 42nd Infantry Division. Upon graduating from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Colonel Souza attended the Navy’s Aviation Officer’s Candidate School and Undergraduate Pilot Training in Pensacola, Florida. After received his wings and commission as an Ensign in May 1992, he completed SH-60B Seahawk training, and joined Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light Four Eight (HSL-48) at Naval Air Station Mayport, Florida. He performed numerous sea deployments to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Red Sea performing counter narcotics and contingency sea-control operations. During this tour he also qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer. In 1996, he was assigned to Fleet Activities Okinawa, Japan. He served as a UC-12 Pilot, Flight Safety Officer and Chief of Standardization & Evaluation. Concurrently, he was the Officer in Charge of the White Beach Naval Port Facility and Security Forces Officer.
Upon discharge from the Navy in 1999, he joined the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing. He has held positions of increasing responsibility to include Chief of Antarctic Operations, Chief of Tactics, Director of Operations and Commander of the 109th Operations Support Squadron. In 2007 and 2010 he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, flying combat missions with the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. He has deployed annually to the Arctic and Antarctic flying the LC-130 for 18 years and has served as the 139th EAS Commander. In April of 2018 he was selected as the 109th Operations Group Commander. Colonel Souza has served for 33 years. He is an active Flight Instructor and Evaluator Pilot with more than 7,000 military flying hours.
1990 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, State University of New York at Stonybrook, N.Y.
2000 Squadron Officers School, by correspondence
2004 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2016 Air War College, by correspondence
1. November 1985 – Feb 1990, Meteorologist, 201st Weather Flight, Gabreski ANGB, N.Y.
2. April 1990 – August 1990, Aviation Officers Candidate School, NAS Pensacola, Fla.
3. August 1990 – Jun 1992, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Whiting Field, Fla.
4. July 1992 – April 1996, Helicopter Anti-Sub Squadron Light Four Zero & Four Eight (HSL40/HSL48), NAS Mayport, Fla.
5. May 1996 – August 1996, UC-12 Training, NAS North Island, Calif. & Flight Safety Officer School, Monterey, Calif.
6. August 1996 – May 1999, UC-12 Pilot, Flight Safety Officer, Port Facility OIC, Fleet Activities, Okinawa, Japan
7. August 1999 – December 1999, C-130 Initial Qualification training, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
8. December 1999 – April 2008, Antarctic Operations Officer, 109th Operations Support Squadron, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
9. April 2008 – September 2009, Training Officer, 139th Airlift Squadron, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
10. September 2009 –Jan 2014, Chief of Tactics, 109th Operations Support Squadron, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
11. January 2014 – January 2016, Director of Operations, 109th Operations Support Squadron, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
12. January 2016 – March 2018, Commander 109th Operation Support Squadron, Stratton ANGB,, N.Y.
13. April 2018 – Present, Commander 109th Operations Group, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: Over 7,000
Aircraft flown: T-34, TH-57, SH-60B, UC-12, C-130H, LC-130H
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with three devices
Aerial Achievement Medal with eight devices
Navy Commendation Medal
Navy Achievement Medal with two devices
Antarctica Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one device
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with two devices
NATO Medal with one device
Kuwait Liberation Medal Government of Kuwait
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
(Navy) Ensign, May 20, 1990
(Navy) Lieutenant Junior Grade, May 15, 1992
Captain, June 1, 1996
Major, Nov. 6, 2002
Lieutenant Colonel, Nov. 6, 2009
Colonel, May 18, 2018
(Current as of October 2018)