The worst news came in late Sunday — a Coast Guard member, Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III, had died in the line of duty. BMC Horne was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter HALIBUT, based out of Marina Del Ray, attached to Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach, California.
When a Coast Guard member dies in the line of duty, we all feel the loss. Our hearts go out to BMC Horne's family at this time. As an organization we are here to support his family, and the Coast Guard community at large, any way we are needed. Please join us in sending Chief Horne's family prayers and positive thoughts at this difficult time.
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In a statement on Sunday, Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert J. Papp said, "We are deeply saddened by the loss of our shipmate. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends, and his shipmates aboard Coast Guard Cutter Halibut. We are focused on supporting them during this very difficult time. Our fallen shipmate stood the watch on the front lines protecting our nation and we are all indebted to him for his service and sacrifice. Finally, I commend the responding Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection units whose quick actions led to the successful interdiction and apprehension of those believed to be involved."
BMC Horne served in the Coast Guard for almost 14 years, previously serving at Coast Guard Stations Emerald Isle, Humboldt Bay and Charleston, and also sailed aboard the CGC DALLAS.
According to the Coast Guard, the HALIBUT was investigating a vessel suspected of illicit activities. The vessel was initially detected by a Coast Guard maritime patrol aircraft.
The cutter deployed its small boat which made an approach on the suspect vessel, which was running without any navigational running lights or other illumination. When the Coast Guard small boat approached with its blue law enforcement lights on, the suspect vessel maneuvered at a high rate of speed directly towards the Coast Guard small boat and rammed it before fleeing the scene.
Two Coast Guard members were thrown from the boat into the water, and both members were immediately recovered by the Coast Guard small boat. Upon recovery it appeared BMC Horne sustained a traumatic head injury, while the other had minor injuries.
The cutter crew quickly recovered the small boat and boarding team, and immediately administered first aid to the injured crewmembers. Halibut made its way to Port Hueneme, Calif., where emergency medical service units met the cutter at the pier and pronounced one injured crew member deceased.
Additional Coast Guard assets were able to stop the fleeing panga, and detained two suspects. The incident remains under investigation.