Originally from Rapid City, SD, LCDR Helgen received his commission in 1998 after graduating from the United States Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Government.
LCDR Helgen began his career aboard USCGC ACTIVE, Port Angeles, WA (1998-2000), serving as the Combat Information Center Officer, Support Services Department Head, Law Enforcement Officer, and Boarding Officer. Aboard CGC ACTIVE, LCDR Helgen conducted several counter-narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific and fisheries law enforcement off the Washington and Oregon coasts.
Following USCGC ACTIVE, he served on Pacific Area Operations Staff, Cutter Forces Section, Alameda, CA (2000-2002), managing major cutter deployment schedules, budgets, maintaining oversight of the Pacific Area Tactical Law Enforcement Team and serving as the Area Patrol Boat program manager. Following 9/11, he helped stand up the Sea Marshal program in San Francisco Bay and assisted in the conceptual development of the Maritime Safety and Security Team program.
After Pacific Area, LCDR Helgen was assigned as the Operations Officer aboard USCGC MORGENTHAU, Alameda, CA (2002-2004), planning & executing Eastern Pacific counter-narcotics deployments off the Mexican and Central and South American coasts, Bering Sea deployments along the US/Russian Maritime Boundary Line, Search and Rescue Response in support of the 2003 Bristol Bay Red King Crab season as well as Homeland Security Operations in San Diego, Los Angeles / Long Beach, and San Francisco at the onset of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM hostilities.
After MORGENTHAU, he served as the Executive Officer of the Pacific Area Training Team in Alameda, CA (2004-2007), where he coordinated patrol boat damage control & emergency procedures, small boat station, fisheries, and law enforcement training for all units in Pacific Area.
LCDR Helgen left the PAC TRATEAM for Patrol Forces Southwest Asia in the Northern Arabian Gulf as the 7th Patrol Boat Crew Commanding Officer (2007-2008). He commanded USCGC ADAK, MONOMOY, MAUI, BARANOF, and AQUIDNECK supporting OPERATIONS IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM, defending Iraq’s two offshore oil terminals, the Al Basra Oil Terminal and the Khwar Al Amaya Oil Terminal. He also served as the Officer-in-Charge of Forward Operating Base Kuwait Naval Base coordinating operational, and engineering, logistics support for USCG patrol boats and US Navy PCs. He also served as a liaison to US Embassy, and US Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel in Kuwait.
After departing the Middle East, LCDR Helgen served as the Commanding Officer of USCGC ROANOKE ISLAND, Homer, AK (2008-2010), conducting Fisheries Law Enforcement, Recreational Boating Safety, Search and Rescue, and Homeland Security in the Gulf of Alaska.
LCDR Helgen left Alaska to serve at US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) as a Maritime Domain Chief in the NORAD-NORTHCOM Command Center, Colorado Springs, CO, monitoring maritime threats and natural disasters in and around North America (2010-2012).
Currently, LCDR Helgen serves as the Executive Officer aboard USCGC ACTIVE, managing the ship’s budget, property, and personnel while executing counternarcotics missions in the Eastern Pacific and fisheries, law enforcement, and search and rescue from California to the Bering Sea.
LCDR Helgen is married to Alison Joan Claire Helgen of Johannesburg, South Africa and they have a three year old son, Ian, a newborn daughter, Emily, and their Jack Russell Terrier, Saffa.
LCDR Helgen’s awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals, a Coast Guard Achievement Medal, 9/11 Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, and a permanent Cutterman’s Pin.