Lieutenant Colonel Brian N. Clifton graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Information Systems in August of 1999 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in April of 2000. He then attended The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia and flight training in Pensacola, Florida becoming designated as a Naval Aviator in July of 2002. First Lieutenant Clifton was assigned to HMM(T)-164 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton and received his designation as a CH-46E pilot just prior to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF).
First Lieutenant Clifton reported to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364 (HMM-364) at MCAS Camp Pendleton in December of 2002. He was assigned as the Squadron Intelligence Officer and deployed in February of 2003 in support of OIF-1. Upon returning, he was promoted to Captain and assigned as Administrative Department Head, Legal Officer, Family Readiness Officer, and Public Affairs Officer for the squadron. In March of 2005, he deployed again with HMM-364 to Al Taquaddum, Iraq in support of OIF 04-06. In September of 2005, Captain Clifton returned to Camp Pendleton and was assigned to the Operations Department as the Assistant Operations Officer. In September of 2006, he deployed to Al Taquaddum, Iraq in support of OIF 05-07.
In July of 2007, Captain Clifton transferred to Training Squadron Twenty-Seven (VT-27) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas where he served as a primary flight instructor in the T-34C, Flight Leader, Formation Standardization Officer, Assistant Operations Officer, and as a Fixed Wing Instructor Training Unit pilot. During this time, he also completed both Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS) and Marine Corps Command and Staff via the College of Distance Education and Training. He completed his tour in VT-27 during July of 2010, was promoted to the rank of Major, and was selected to attend resident Intermediate Level School (ILS) at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
In addition to the Navy War College ILS curriculum, Major Clifton was also selected to attend the Maritime Advanced Warfare School (MAWS) where his studies would earn him the additional MOS of 0505, Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Planner. In May and September of 2011, respectively, Major Clifton graduated from the Naval War College with a Masters of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies and MAWS.
Major Clifton was assigned to the II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Command Element as a MAGTF planner in September of 2011. Upon check in, he was deployed to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan with II MEF Forward where he served as a planner in the C-5 and as advisor to the G-5 Plans Officer of 215th Corps, Afghan National Army. Upon redeployment, Major Clifton was assigned to II MEF G-3 Future Operations and served as the Global Force Manager, Crisis Action Team (CAT) / Operational Planning Team (OPT) Leader, and G-5 Plans Officer.
In the fall of 2013, Major Clifton was selected for transition to the MV-22B. Upon completion of the transition syllabus at VMM(T)-204, he was assigned to VMM-162 at MCAS New River as the Operations Officer in July of 2014. Changing departments as the squadron composited in March of 2015, he deployed as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer for VMM-162(REIN) while in support of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) from October of 2015 until May of 2016. Upon return, Major Clifton assumed the duties of squadron Executive Officer.
During the summer of 2016, Major Clifton was selected to command VMM-363. He was subsequently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and reported to Marine Aircraft Group 16 (MAG-16) at MCAS Miramar in the spring of 2017 for duty as the Commanding Officer of VMM-363.