Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Robert J. Papp, reported that Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III, 34, was killed in the line of duty as a part of a drug interdiction vessel boarding near Santa Cruz Island in California.  Chief Horne was commanding a rigid inflatable hull boat (RIB) that was dispatched as a boarding crew from the Cutter Halibut.

Shortly after midnight, a Coast Guard aerial patrol aircraft had detected a vessel in the Channel Islands that was suspected of being involved in the trafficking of narcotics.   The suspected drug running vessel was a panga-style Mexican fishing boat operating at night without its navigation lights in operation as required by maritime law.

The Halibut along with other Coast Guard vessels were dispatched to the area. The vessel was located near Santa Cruz Island and stopped.  Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the Channel Islands west of Malibu, California.   The crew of the vessel being suspected of being trafficking narcotics were hailed and notified of the Coast Guard’s intention to board the vessel.  As the boarding party in a RIB was approaching the suspect vessel, the crew suddenly accelerated and steered into the RIB intentionally ramming it.

Both Coast Guard personnel were injured and thrown into the water due to the ramming. They were immediately recovered by Coast Guard personnel.  The suspected drug running vessel was pursued by another Coast Guard Cutter and stopped.  The crew of two was taken into custody and the vessel seized.

Chief Horne was flown by a USCG helicopter to a nearby medical facility in Port Hueneme, CA where he succumbed to traumatic head injuries.   Horne is survived by his expectant wife and a young daughter.

Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne, III gone but never forgotten.  EOW: Sunday, December 2, 2012.

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