Written by Seaman Ryan Estrada
The sun was shining, the breeze was crisp and the sound of waves lapping at the pier could be heard at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach. Family members, shipmates and friends of a fallen Coast Guard hero gathered March 21, 2019, to celebrate the life of Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Edwin Horne III, with a commissioning of a cutter named in his honor.
Horne was serving as the executive petty officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut in 2012, when he led a boarding team on a counter-smuggling operation off the coast of Southern California. Accompanied by three crew members, Horne deployed the cutter’s small boat to investigate a suspicious vessel. Shortly after the Coast Guard crew approached the vessel and identified themselves as law enforcement, the smugglers accelerated their panga towards the boarding team.
When the panga’s impact became imminent, Horne pushed his coxswain out of the way and exposed himself to the oncoming collision. Horne made the ultimate sacrifice.
Many of Horne’s family and friends attended the commissioning, including his parents, his widow Rachel and their three sons Kade, Miller and Wells. Also attending were Adm. Karl Schultz, Coast Guard commandant; Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, 11th Coast Guard District commander; and hundreds of Coast Guard men and women, and members of the community.
“I am humbled and honored to pay tribute to the life of Terrell Horne III,” said Schultz. “He served under my command here in the 11th District aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut. Terrell’s loss is one the hardest things I’ve heard as a commander in any capacity in 36 years. His memory lives on with me, lives on in all of us in attendance today, it lives on across the Coast Guard.”
Lt. Cmdr. Stewart Sibert, Horne’s commanding officer aboard Halibut, presented the new cutter’s commissioning pennant during the ceremony and recalled how the senior chief mentored him as a junior officer.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about Terrell and how he made me a better officer,” said Sibert. “I remember him as an endlessly patient chief who took a green j.g. under his wing and showed him how to take care of our crew. Senior Chief Horne was a natural leader. He was a gifted ship handler and he idealized our core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty.”
The cutter’s new crew – the plankowners – went aboard, manned the rails and rendered honors, bringing the cutter to life as Coast Guard aircraft flew overhead in salute. Horne’s shipmates who were with him on the Halibut’s small boat the night he died were also made honorary plankowners for the new cutter to ensure their bravery, dedication and spirit of public service will also live on in the deck plates of the most fitting tribute to a true Coast Guard hero – the Coast Guard Cutter Terrell Horne.