Sergeant Major Clifton is a native of Puyallup, Washington. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on October 17, 1990. Upon completion of recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego, California in January of 1991, he was assigned to Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton, California. Sergeant Major Clifton was transferred to Infantry Training Battalion, Camp Pendleton, California, where he was assigned the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 0311 Rifleman. Upon completion of MOS school, he was assigned to Marine Corps Security Forces School, Naval Station Mare Island, California. After successfully graduating, Sergeant Major Clifton was assigned to Marine Corps Security Force Company, North Island Naval Air Station, Coronado, California.
In August of 1993 Sergeant Major Clifton was transferred to 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Charlie Company, Twenty-nine Palms, California. While serving as a squad leader, he deployed in 1994 with “Suicide Charlie” to Okinawa, Japan UDP. Sergeant Major Clifton was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in October 1994.
Sergeant Major Clifton enlisted back into the Marine Corps in July 1998 and was transferred to Marine Corps Communication and Electronics School, Twenty-nine Palms, California, where he graduated top of his class and was assigned the MOS 2841 Ground Radio Repairer. Sergeant Major Clifton was transferred to School of Infantry West in February, 1999.
In October of 2002, Sergeant Major Clifton received orders to Drill Instructor School, MCRD, San Diego, California. Upon graduation, Sergeant Major Clifton was assigned to Fox Company, 2d Recruit Training Battalion. While serving with Fox Company, Sergeant Major Clifton trained seven platoons, two of which were honor platoons and served as a Senior Drill Instructor for three of them.
In February of 2007, Sergeant Major Clifton was transferred to 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He completed a combat tour in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from October 2007 to May 2008 and deployed with 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit from May 2009 to November 2009.
In December 2009, Sergeant Major Clifton reported to Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy, Camp Pendleton, California. While at the academy Sergeant Major Clifton attained the level of Master Faculty Advisor and was appointed as the Staff Noncommissioned Officer In Charge of the Career Course.
In January 2013, Sergeant Major Clifton was transferred to 3d Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Camp Pendleton, California where he served as Communication Electronics Maintenance Chief and Headquarters and Service Battery First Sergeant.
In January 2014, Sergeant Major Clifton received orders to 1st Maintenance Battalion and served as Engineer Maintenance Company First Sergeant.
In January 2016, Sergeant Major Clifton was transferred to Headquarters Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 1 were he served as the Headquarters Company First Sergeant.
From August 2018 to April 2019, Sergeant Major Clifton deployed to Al Anbar province in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE as the Senior Enlisted Leader for Task Force Spartan 18.2.
His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with three gold stars.