Cmdr. John Souders, USCG

Cmdr. John Souders, USCG

Cmdr. John Souders, USCG, is the Executive Officer of Coast Guard Aviation Training Center (ATC) in Mobile, Ala. He manages the Coast Guard’s only combined training center, base, and operational air station, comprised of over 650 personnel across four states, 16 aircraft, 44 buildings, and 231 acres. In this role, he oversees all Coast Guard pilot and aircrew training and standardization for 26 air stations and 43 flight deck equipped Coast Guard cutters.


Additionally, he supervises the Coast Guard’s Aviation Capabilities Development Center and provides 24/7 fixed-wing operational response, and helicopter disaster surge response, for America’s Gulf Coast. Souders is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and a 2002 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

Souders’ first assignment was aboard the cutter Dependable (WMEC-626) where he performed Coast Guard Law Enforcement, Fisheries, and Search and Rescue missions. Next, he assumed command of the cutter Steelhead (WPB-87324), responsible for defending the U.S.-Mexico maritime boundary line. In 2006, he was selected for flight training and earned his “Wings of Gold” at Navy Flight School in Pensacola, Fla., His first aviation duty assignment was Air Station Los Angeles, where he served as a Helicopter Aircraft Commander and Rotary Wing Air Intercept pilot.

In 2012, he was selected to serve as a helicopter instructor pilot, flight examiner and fleet safety officer in the MH-65 at ATC. Next, he transferred to Coast Guard Headquarters to serve as the military aide to the 30th vice commandant. He was subsequently assigned to Congress as the Senate Liaison Officer, acting as the conduit for communications between the Coast Guard and U.S. Senate. In 2020, he was selected as the Hoover National Security Affairs Fellow at Stanford University, where he studied Western Pacific maritime security challenges.

Souders holds a Master of Science in Aeronautics with an emphasis in Safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with distinction, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine and Environmental Science from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. His military decorations include two Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medals, three Coast Guard Commendation Medals, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and various other personal and team awards.

Souders is a native of Lisburn, Pa., and is married to Sarah (Duke) Souders of Colorado Springs, Colo. Together they are raising their two children, Katelyn (13) and Matthew (11). Off-duty, they enjoy finding outdoor adventure on the water and in the mountains as a family. He aspires to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail with his wife upon completion of his Coast Guard career.