|Rear Admiral Helmer graduated with a bachelor's degree from
the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Ct., in May 1935. His first assignment,
as an ensign, was aboard the Coast Guard cutter Pontchartrain, which patrolled
the North Atlantic on ice patrol and search and rescue missions. His next
assignment was aboard the CGC Spencer, based in Cordova, Alaska, from 1937-1939.
From 1939-1941 he served on the cutter Escanaba in Grand Haven, Mich.
From 1941-1944, during WWII, he was navigator of the CG-manned attack troop transport USS Leonard Wood during the N. African landings and the Sicilian invasion, and later during the Gilbert and Marshall Islands invasions. From 1944-1945 he was the commanding officer of the Destroyer Escort USS Vance serving on convoy duty in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.
Other tours include: commanding officer of the USS Cambria and CGC Escanaba, assistant chief of the enlisted personnel division at CG Headquarters in Washington D.C.(1947-1951), and then as commanding officer of the Destroyer Koiner in Seattle, Wash. From 1952-1956 he was chief of the aids to navigation division at the 13th CG District in Seattle.
From 1956-1959 he was the chief of personnel at the then 12th CG District
in San Francisco. For the next two years he served as commanding officer
of the CGC Taney in Alameda, Calif. He next served as the asst. superintendent
of the Academy from 1961-1964 and went on to become the chief of staff
at the then 3rd CG District in New York. After assuming the rank of admiral
in 1965, Helmer was the comptroller and then the chief of operations
at CG Headquarters from 1965-1967. He then assumed command of the
13th CG District in 1967.