Jesse Harms
CoastGuard logo Officer


Jesse Harms

Chief of Contingency Planning

As the son of a pastor, Jesse learned the value of helping others at a young age. He continues to do so today as the Chief of Contingency Planning of Coast Guard Sector San Juan, where he leads  fellow Coast Guardsmen in humanitarian relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

"As long as you stay ready with an open mind, you can accomplish these things and you're not doing it by yourself."

Jesse Harms


Ready With An Open Mind

Lieutenant Commander Jesse Harms shares stories of seminal moments that led to him becoming an accomplished officer who coordinates critical humanitarian missions in the Coast Guard.

Length 1:30 View Transcript


Lieutenant Jesse Harms, U.S Coast Guard:   I'm Lieutenant Commander. I'm an active duty Coastguardsman that works down in Sector San Juan and I'm the Chief of Contingency Planning.

Jesse:   I wasn't born a Lieutenant Commander. I didn't just come out and know how to do the things that I know how to do now. I entered into the active duty service when I was 23 years old. Started doing search and rescue right away. I moved into blue ocean response, I moved into emergency management. All these things I kept building on one skillset to another and that turned it into this career of a Response Shore Officer.

Jesse:   Those growth points that happen to you throughout your career, you have to be ready for those and some of those seminal moments when you least expect them just pop up. I didn't know that there was going to be a giant oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that was going to explode and have lives lost and search and rescue that had to happen and massive oil spill response to occur.

Jesse:   I didn't know when I got stationed in Puerto Rico that I was going to be surrounded by the worst disaster that they've seen here in Puerto Rico in recent years. But the experiences along the way, as long as you stay ready with an open mind, you can accomplish these things and you're not doing it by yourself.

Jesse:   I didn't come down to the base immediately after the hurricane with all the trees down on the ground and power out throughout the island and go, "God, I got to do this all by myself." I knew that I could reach out and talk to people and let them guide me and me guide them through some challenging times that are about to happen.