Dorado gets a new commander

By Adam Spencer, The Triplicate April 01, 2013 06:50 pm

Crescent City’s Coast Guard cutter was formally assigned a new commanding officer Friday morning by way of the long-standing change of command ceremony.

Lt. j.g. Mark Tatara is the new commander of the 87-foot patrol boat Coast Guard cutter Dorado, home-ported in Crescent City, but with a responsibility over 280 nautical miles of rugged coast from Point Arena, Calif., to Cape Sebastian, 20 miles north of the Oregon-California border.

“I look forward to working with the crew and community, getting to know everybody and becoming a part of this community and serving as the representative of the Coast Guard up here,” Tatara said during the ceremony at Crescent City Harbor. “I look forward to my time onboard the next two years and the adventures that await us out at sea.”

Tatara, 23, was formerly assigned to Coast Guard cutter Confidence in Cape Canaveral, Fla., where he served for two years as a supply officer.

The formal change of command ritual, which has roots in the British Royal Navy, features Coast Guard officials in dress whites, an official reading of new orders, and an official inspection of Dorado’s crew jointly completed by  the incoming and departing commanders.

Departing commander Lt. Kenneth Franklin was recognized for his eight months of leadership, which included operations such as a 32-day, 3,000-mile deployment where Dorado assisted in the seizure of 133 bales of illegal narcotics and four detainees, the guiding of large oil tankers under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, and the search for a missing diver off of Santa Cruz Island.

In September the Dorado steamed 133 miles from Crescent City to tow a fishing vessel stranded 36 miles west of Fort Bragg back to safe harbor. While it was out there, Dorado was unexpectedly called upon to assist another stranded vessel in the vicinity. With quickly deteriorating weather conditions, Franklin decided to tow both vessels back to Noyo Harbor at the same time, employing a seldom-used maneuver called a “dual stern tow.”

“No one from Dorado had conducted this challenging maneuver, but you conducted it flawlessly,” said Capt. Salvatore Palmeri, commander, Group Air/Station Humboldt Bay.

Franklin was assigned to District 11 Command Center in Alameda.

“This close-knit city has afforded me the unique opportunity to work with local partners,” Franklin said. “The working relationship Dorado has with the county sheriff, California Fish and Wildlife, Crescent City Harbor and Coast Guard Auxiliary is invaluable to the community it serves.”

Tatara is the fourth commander of the Dorado in less than a year after a commander installed in May 2012 served for only four months before being relieved by Franklin. Dorado’s commanders typically serve for two years.

Reach Adam Spencer at  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it