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CDR Clifton Helterbran was commissioned in 2008 from the University of South Florida NROTC with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. He began flight training in Pensacola Florida, in the fall of 2008 and was designated a Naval Flight Officer in May of 2012. After earning his wings, he completed training in the F/A-18F Super Hornet with the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 onboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, Virginia, in 2013.
CDR Helterbran’s first sea tour was with the “Fighting Checkmates” of VFA-211. While there he deployed on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in 2015 and flew missions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
After his initial operational tour, he was assigned to the West Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron “Flying Eagles” of VFA-122 where he served as an instructor Weapons Systems Officer until the Winter of 2018. During his time at VFA-122 he earned the LT Nathaniel Williams Weapons Systems Officer of the year award for 2018.
After his instructor tour at VFA-122 he remained at NAS Lemoore and was assigned to the “Black Knights” of VFA-154 to serve as a Super Junior Officer until October of 2020. During his time at the “Black Knights” he earned his Rescue Mission Commander Qualification and deployed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) to South Pacific in support of the nation’s objectives.
Upon selection as a department head, he returned to NAS Oceana to join the “Red Rippers” of VFA-11. While there he served as the Safety Officer, Maintenance Officer, and Special Projects Officer. During this tour, he deployed aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in 2021-2022 in support of Strike Force NATO. As a department head, he qualified as an Air Wing Strike Lead.
Upon completing his department head tour, he rejoined the “Flying Eagles” of VFA-122 in June 2023, and is now serving as the Executive Officer.
CDR Helterbran has accumulated over 2,000 flight hours in the FA-18F. His personal decorations include the Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medals, Navy Achievement Medals, and various unit, theater, and campaign awards.
Last Updated: 30 June 2023