Captain Eric A. Helgen
Captain Helgen currently serves as the Commodore of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), Manama, Bahrain.
Captain Helgen’s assignments afloat include tours as Executive Officer USCGC HAMILTON (WMSL 753) in Charleston, South Carolina, Executive Officer USCGC ACTIVE (WMEC 618) in Port Angeles, Washington, Commanding Officer USCGC ROANOKE ISLAND (WPB 1346) in Homer, Alaska, Commanding Officer USCGC MONOMOY (WPB 1326) in Manama, Bahrain, Commanding Officer 7th Patrol Boat Crew & Officer-in-Charge Forward Operating Base, Kuwait in Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), Operations Officer USCGC MORGENTHAU (WHEC 722) in Alameda, California, and Combat Information Systems Officer & Deck Watch Officer USCGC ACTIVE (WMEC 618) in Port Angeles, Washington.
Captain Helgen’s ashore assignments include tours at the Seventh Coast Guard District in Miami, Florida as the Deputy Chief of Response, Coast Guard Headquarters, Office of Military Personnel in Washington, DC, Maritime Domain Chief at US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) / North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Executive Officer Pacific Area Training Team in Alameda, California, and Coast Guard Pacific Area, Office of Cutter Forces also in Alameda, California.
Captain Helgen is a 1998 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy earning a Bachelor of Science in Government. Additionally, he earned his Master of Arts in Christian Leadership in 2013 from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.
Captain Helgen’s awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals with Operational Distinguishing device, six Coast Guard Commendation Medals with Operational Distinguishing device, the Department of Transportation 9-11 Medal, one Coast Guard Achievement Medal, a Commandant’s Letter of Commendation, and the Iraqi Campaign Medal.
Captain Helgen is married to Alison Helgen of Johannesburg, South Africa and has two children, Ian (12) and Emily (9).
Commander Gordon A. Hood
Commander Gordon A. Hood assumed the role of Deputy Commodore for Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (CTG 55.1) in April 2022. Headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, PATFOR SWA supports U.S. Central Command by equipping and deploying mission-ready U.S. Coast Guard forces to lead maritime security operations and engagement across the Middle East.
A career Cutterman with nearly a decade of sea time, CDR Hood has commanded USCGC KITTIWAKE (WPB 87316) in Kauai, Hawaii, USCGC OAK (WLB 211) in Newport, Rhode Island, and was interim captain of HOLLYHOCK (WLB 214) in Port Huron, Michigan for domestic icebreaking on the Great Lakes. He also served twice aboard USCGC SPAR (WLB 206) in Kodiak, Alaska, and was executive officer of WRANGELL (WPB 1332) forward-deployed in support of operation Iraqi Freedom.
While ashore, CDR Hood has worked primarily in organizational training and education. Past assignments include as an instructor on faculty at the U.S. Naval Academy, and as performance analyst for Training Center Yorktown, Virginia. He was also the National Aids to Navigation school chief, leading instruction and readiness for the entire operational workforce that maintains the constellation of buoys, beacons, and lighthouses that provide for safe navigation along the nation's waterways.
CDR Hood is a 2005 graduate of U.S. Coast Guard Academy with a degree in marine & environmental science. He has also earned a master of science in organizational performance & workplace learning from Boise State University, and holds a command & staff diploma from the Naval War College.
In addition to military service awards and medals, CDR Hood has received the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration unit citation for hydrographic survey in the Arctic region and the U.S. Navy Craftmaster insignia as a yard patrol craft officer-in-charge. He is a permanent Cutterman and honorary Lightship Sailor.
CDR Hood and his wife Arlene are both natives of central Connecticut, and high school sweethearts. They married in 2005, have four children, and enjoy outdoor adventures together as a family.
Command Master Chief Evan C. Burch
Command Master Chief, PATFORSWA
Master Chief Evan Burch assumed duties as Command Master Chief (CMC), Patrol Forces Southwest Asia on 15 June 2022. His primary responsibility is to advise and support the Commodore on all issues and initiatives pertaining to Coast Guard’s most forwardly deployed unit comprised of six 154’ Fast Response cutters, shore side support personnel, Maritime Engagement Team (MET), Advanced Interdiction Teams (AIT), and other deployable specialized forces operating throughout the U.S. Central Command Area of Operation.
Most recently Master Chief Burch served as the CMC of USCG Base Los Angeles Long Beach. Master Chief Burch’s previous assignments include the Ceremonial Honor Guard in Alexandria, VA, Group Air-station Corpus Christi, TX, Telecommunications Specialist (TC) “A” School Petaluma CA, Communications Area Master Station Pacific (CAMSPAC) Pt Reyes Station, CA, CGC WALNUT in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, CGC SHERMAN Alameda CA, National Security Cutter C4ISR School TRACEN Petaluma CA, Vessel Traffic Center Sector New York NY, District 17 Command Center Juneau AK, and the CGC STRATTON Alameda CA.
Master Chief Burch is a proud graduate of the Chief Petty Officer Academy Class 192, Coast Guard Senior Enlisted Command Master Chief Course, Coast Guard Senior Enlisted Leadership Course (class 60), and both Phase I and II of the Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education Course.
Master Chief Burch was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and raised in Glen, New York. He enlisted in the Coast Guard and graduated from Coast Guard Boot camp in March of 1995. Master Chief Burch’s most recent military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals, the Coast Guard Achievement Medal, and four Commandant’s Letters of Commendation. He has been married to his beautiful wife for 24 years; they have a 23 year old son, and a 21 year old daughter that is a senior at Arizona State University, Phoenix AZ.