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The USS Coronado made an appearance near Dana Point Sunday. The littoral combat ship, designed for coastline operations, is under two commands, one of which is headed by Dana Point native, Cmdr. John Kochendorfer. Photo by Shannon O’Neill
The USS Coronado made an appearance near Dana Point in March. The littoral combat ship, designed for coastline operations, was then under the command of Dana Point native, Cmdr. John Kochendorfer, who will move onto his next post in Washington, D.C. Photo by Shannon O’Neill

By Andrea Papagianis

Two months after Dana Point whale watchers, commercial fishers and private boaters, as well as spectators on land, got an up-close view of the U.S. Navy’s latest warship and San Diego welcomed the vessel to its homeport, the Dana Point native who commandeered the ship is moving on to his next post.

Cmdr. John Kochendorfer, a Dana Point native, stops for a picture March 10 as one of the U.S. Navy’s newest and most advanced vessels, the USS Coronado, arrived in its home port of San Diego. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy, by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward
Cmdr. John Kochendorfer, a Dana Point native, stops for a picture March 10 as the USS Coronado, arrived in its home port of San Diego. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy, by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward

Cmdr. John Kochendorfer, a Dana Hills High School graduate, was recently honored in a change of command ceremony aboard the USS Coronado. The 1994 United States Naval Academy graduate now moves to a post at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

In March, a day before the USS Coronado was due in San Diego, Kochendorfer and his crew brought the 419-foot, fast maneuvering combat ship to Dana Point’s shoreline.

The Navy vessel—known as a littoral combatship—has a draft of just 14.4 feet and is designed for near-shore combat operations to fight submarine, mine and surface warfare. Draft is measured from the waterline to the ship’s lowest point. An LCS is outfitted with two rotation crews of 40 sailors and can hold up to 35 mission crew members.

The USS Coronado was built in Mobile, Ala. and traveled to Southern California by way of Florida’s Mayport Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Colombia, Panama and Mexico. It became the Navy’s most recent commissioned ship on April 5 and was dubbed the “Crown of the Fleet.” The vessel is the third U.S. Navy ship to bear the name Coronado—after the San Diego island.

Kochendorfer relinquishes command of his crew to Cmdr. Allen Adkins of DeSoto, Texas. Adkins served as Kochendorfer’s longtime executive officer.

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