New commanding officer at helm of Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry

Lt. Eric Johnson (left), the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124), relieved Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Franklin (right) while Capt. Arex Avanni (center), commander, Sector Honolulu, presided at a change of command ceremony at Base Honolulu, July 18, 2019. Franklin is leaving to study human performance technology at Boise State University as part of the Coast Guard's advanced education program. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West/Released)

Lt. Eric Johnson (left), the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124), relieved Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Franklin (right) while Capt. Arex Avanni (center), commander, Sector Honolulu, presided at a change of command ceremony at Base Honolulu, July 18, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West)

HONOLULU — Lt. Eric Johnson relieved Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Franklin as commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) in a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Thursday. Capt. Arex Avanni, commander, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu presided over the event.

Johnson is arriving from Patrol Force Southwest Asia in Bahrain, where he served as the commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Wrangell (WPB 1332). A native of New Jersey, he graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in naval architecture and marine engineering.

His other afloat tours include Coast Guard Cutter Resolute (WMEC 620) and Coast Guard Cutter Edisto (WPB 1313). During this time he had responsibility for vessel engineering and enforcement duties including migrant interdiction and counter-drug operations. While ashore Johnson served as a nautical science instructor and deputy branch chief at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He also completed Joint Professional Military Education and earned a Master of Arts degree in defense and strategic studies from the Naval War College.

Franklin is departing to Boise, Idaho to pursue graduate studies in human performance technology. He took command of Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry in 2017, after serving as the operations officer on Coast Guard Cutter Dependable (WMEC 626) and as a law enforcement duty officer at the Coast Guard 11th District in California. While in command of Oliver Berry he ensured the safe delivery of the vessel from Key West to its new homeport in Honolulu, prosecuted fisheries enforcement patrols and search and rescue as well as conducting a historic over-the-horizon patrol to Johnston Atoll and the Marshall Islands. This patrol tested the adaptability and range of the cutter and crew setting the stage for future long-range deployments of the fast response cutters in the Central and South Pacific.

Franklin’s previous afloat tours also include Coast Guard Cutter Resolute (WMEC 620), Guard Cutter Dolphin (WPB 87354), and Coast Guard Cutter Dorado (WPB 87306).

A native of New York state, Franklin currently holds a bachelor’s degree in operations research and computer analysis from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and earned a master’s degree in business administration from Liberty University in 2015.

The Oliver Berry is is the first Fast Response Cutter to be stationed in the Coast Guard 14th Coast Guard District, which covers the state of Hawaii, the U.S. territories of Guam and American Samoa, various Pacific Island nations and parts of Asia.

The cutter’s namesake, Oliver Berry, is the first enlisted helicopter mechanic in naval aviation history and was an instrumental part in pioneering the use of the helicopter for search and rescue after World War II.
The fast response cutter replaced the aged Island-class 110-foot patrol boats, and is capable of achieving speeds of more than 32 mph (28 knots) with an endurance of five days. Oliver Berry, its sister vessel Joseph Gerczak and the soon to arrive William Hart, is designed for multiple missions, including law enforcement, fisheries enforcement, waterways and coastal security, search and rescue, and national defense.


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