A Legacy Not Forgotten

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Written by Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Barney

Coast Guard Lt. j.g. John Epperly, the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut commanding officer, gives the command to release a wreath into the water during a memorial ceremony of Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut near Smuggler's Cove, California, Dec. 2, 2017. Horne died from injuries sustained during a law enforcement operation in 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Barney

Coast Guard Lt. j.g. John Epperly, the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut commanding officer, gives the command to release a wreath into the water during a memorial ceremony of Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut near Smuggler’s Cove, Calif., Dec. 2, 2017. Horne died from injuries sustained during a law enforcement operation in 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Barney

Many people have watched, at some point in their lives, a movie or television drama revolving around heroism and sacrifice. Some of those very people stand in awe at the idea of selfless behavior where the protagonist in the film puts him or herself into danger to protect those they care for. A feat often characterized as a reaction where little thought and self-regard are incorporated in the decision, grounded in the instinct to act.

Although these on-screen feats are fabricated, examples of real life courage happen around us in everyday life. Service members, public servants, teachers and the average citizen who chooses to react and put others’ lives before their own. There is no cut, rolling cameras or “take two” in the real world. Just an unexpected moment in time where a person’s instinct is to stand up and act to protect others.

Those moments are what help guide others by example. Those examples are transformed into legacies.

Capt. Charlene Downey, the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander, delivers her remarks during a memorial ceremony for Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut (WPB-87340) near Smuggler's Cove, California, Dec. 2, 2017. The ceremony marked the fifth anniversary of Horne's death after succumbing from injuries sustained during a law enforcement operation. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Barney

Capt. Charlene Downey, the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander, delivers her remarks during a memorial ceremony for Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut (WPB-87340) near Smuggler’s Cove, Calif., Dec. 2, 2017. The ceremony marked the fifth anniversary of Horne’s death after succumbing from injuries sustained during a law enforcement operation. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Barney

On Dec. 2, 2017, the Coast Guard held a wreath-laying ceremony in the Pacific Ocean near Smugglers Cove, California, in memory of Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell E. Horne on the five-year anniversary of his passing.

A native of Mountain View, Horne attended Patterson High School in Patterson, California, and enlisted in the Coast Guard, Feb. 2, 1999. As a boatswain’s mate, Horne served in Humboldt Bay, California; Charleston, South Carolina; Emerald Isle, North Carolina; and Los Angeles throughout his career that spanned nearly 14 years.

On Dec. 2, 2012, while serving as the executive petty officer aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut (WPB-87340) during a law enforcement operation, Horne and other Halibut crew members were aboard the cutter’s interceptor boat approaching a suspicious panga-type boat near Smuggler’s Cove. The panga, that was operating without any navigational running lights, had been spotted by a maritime patrol aircraft and was suspected of trafficking drugs.

As the Halibut’s interceptor boat approached, the crew aboard the panga made an aggressive maneuver toward the Coast Guard boat and rammed it an attempt to escape. As crew members fired their weapons at the panga, Horne pushed one of his shipmates away from danger seconds before the collision. Despite his effort, both Horne and another crew member aboard the small boat were ejected into the water.

The crew aboard the Halibut quickly jumped into action and recovered the interceptor boat crew and administered first aid. While Horne’s shipmate wasn’t severely hurt, Horne himself suffered a traumatic head injury and was later pronounced deceased by emergency medical services at Port Hueneme, California.

Additional Coast Guard assets were able to stop the fleeing panga and detain the two suspects who were later tried in federal court for their actions. One was convicted of murder and other charges and sentenced to life in federal prison without possibility of parole. The other was found guilty on charges of failure to heave to, and assault, and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Lt. Stewart Sibert was the commanding officer of the Halibut at the time of Horne’s death. He knew and worked alongside Horne who served as his second in command.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of Terrell,” said Sibert. “His memory is a constant charge for me to try and embody the virtues he lived.”

Horne’s virtues and memory have been celebrated each year following his passing as Coast Guardsmen and women from surrounding units join with local and state partners to honor him. Many, who have never met or known Horne personally take part in the annual event to celebrate his life.

Lt. Cmdr. Jason Dipinto delivers a prayer during a memorial ceremony for Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut (WPB-87340) near Smuggler's Cove, California, Dec. 2, 2017. Horne died after succumbing to injuries sustained during a law enforcement operation Dec. 2, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Barney

Lt. Cmdr. Jason Dipinto delivers a prayer during a memorial ceremony for Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut (WPB-87340) near Smuggler’s Cove, Calif., Dec. 2, 2017. Horne died after succumbing to injuries sustained during a law enforcement operation Dec. 2, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Barney

“Today, we lay this beautiful wreath in the waters in which our absolute hero was killed,” said Lt. j.g. John Epperly, the Halibut’s commanding officer. “We pray for him, we pray for his family and we honor his legacy.”

Words like honor and legacy carry significant weight and resonate with those who serve. Words that don’t just derive from actions like Horne’s that fateful day. They also derive from values and character that lead a person to put others before themselves. Those that are left behind aren’t just left with heavy hearts, they are left with the memory and legacy of the fallen. Those who hold and honor that legacy choose not to forget.

The Coast Guard Cutter Blacktip, Halibut and Blackfin raft together alongside two Response Boat-Medium boats from Coast Guard Station Channel Islands and the National Park Service near Smuggler’s Cove, Calif., for a memorial of Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell E. Horne, Dec. 2, 2017. The ceremony marked the fifth anniversary of Horne’s passing. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Gregory L. Martin

 


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