2018 Hall of Fame InducteeShannon L. Callahan Souma

Shannon L. Callahan Souma

Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy
Mira Loma High School

Shannon Lee Callahan Souma was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and grew up in Sacramento, California. She graduated from Mira Loma High School with an International Baccalaureate diploma. Shannon graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. That same year she earned a Master’s Degree in Security Studies from Georgetown University. While there, she authored a paper on nanotechnology that was published twice in the Joint Force Quarterly.

She is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Georgetown University in the field of International Relations.

In 1999, Shannon reported to flight school in Pensacola, Florida. She earned her Naval Flight Officer “Wings of Gold” in March of 2000, and moved to Whidbey Island, Washington to join the EA-6B Prowler community.

In 2001, Shannon joined Electronic Attack Squadron 139 (VAQ-139). With VAQ-139, Shannon served aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln for a deployment lasting 10 months. During that time, she flew combat sorties in Operations Enduring Freedom, Southern Watch, and Iraqi Freedom. She was recognized for her role in several missions which directly contributed to the capture of top-level Al-Qaeda operatives. She also flew in the “Shock and Awe” air strike over Baghdad in March of 2003.

Shannon returned to Pensacola as a flight instructor at Training Squadron 86 (VT-86) from 2004-2007. She instructed the Advanced Multi-Service Flight Officer curriculum in the T-39N/G Sabreliner.

In 2007, Shannon volunteered for an Individual Augmentation tour in Iraq. She served as an embedded Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) with two US Army battalions in Baghdad. Later in that tour, she became an instructor at the Joint CREW Composite Squadron One (JCCS-1) headquarters, and traveled to several bases in Iraq as part of a mobile training team.

In 2009, Shannon earned her second Master’s Degree at the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. She graduated with the second highest GPA out of a class of 475 students.

As a Department Head with the VAQ-131 “Lancers,” Shannon once again deployed aboard USS Abraham Lincoln. In 2010-11, she flew nearly 30 EA-6B combat missions, providing critical Electronic Attack support to Coalition troops during Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.

Shannon joined the Foreign Area Officer (FAO) community in 2012, after a brief tour as the Training Air Wing SIX (TW-6) Aviation Safety Officer. Also in 2012, Shannon was awarded the Admiral Arthur S. Moreau Scholarship for post-master’s study. As Moreau Scholar, she studied International Relations at Georgetown University.

From 2013-2016, Shannon served as Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation, at the US Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay. There, she managed a security cooperation portfolio worth over $25 million, working with all three Uruguayan armed services.

Shannon’s last tour was as Theater Security Cooperation Officer for the Western Hemisphere at Commander, THIRD Fleet in San Diego, where she coordinated numerous foreign engagements and represented THIRD Fleet in international fora. She transitioned to civilian life in the summer of 2018.

Shannon has flown over 2200 hours in the EA-6B and T-39N/G aircraft, and has made over 300 carrier arrested landings. Her awards include the Individual Air Medal with Combat “V,” the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V,” three Strike Flight Air Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. She is an instrument-rated private pilot and accomplished vocalist.

Shannon is married to Commander John M. Souma, US Navy Reserve, a Naval Flight Officer turned Foreign Area Officer who has flown over 2500 hours in the F-14D Tomcat and T-39N/G Sabreliner. They have three children: Leacy, Stella Maris, and Johnny. They are expecting a baby girl in December of 2018.