FALLEN COMRADE – Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne, the second in command on the Marina del Rey-based Coast Guard Cutter Halibut, was fatally injured in a collision with a suspected smuggling boat near Santa Cruz Island Dec. 2.

A veteran U.S. Coast Guard chief petty officer who was killed while investigating a suspected smuggling vessel off the coast of Santa Cruz Island was remembered by colleagues as a dependable leader whose experience helped save lives.
Terrell Horne, a 34-year-old Redondo Beach resident who served as a boatswain mate onboard the Marina del Rey-based Coast Guard Cutter Halibut, was killed early Dec. 2 after suffering head injuries in a collision with a “panga” boat near the island off the coast of Ventura County, authorities said.
The Halibut was investigating the vessel for suspected smuggling activities and Horne, the cutter’s second in command, was part of a crew of four officers deployed on a smaller inflatable boat to try to intercept the panga. When the Coast Guard boat approached with its blue law enforcement light flashing, the suspect boat drove directly into it before fleeing, knocking Horne and another crew member into the water, authorities said.
Horne, who suffered a traumatic head injury in the collision, was later pronounced dead at Port Hueneme, while the other crewman was treated for minor injuries.
Petty Officer First Class Adam Eggers said Horne is the first Los Angeles-Long Beach Station officer to be killed in an incident with a panga-type vessel in recent memory.
“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,” said Coast Guard commandant, Admiral Robert J. Papp. “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.”
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of U.S. Coast Guard Boatswain Mate Terrell Horne during a counter-drug operation yesterday morning near Santa Cruz Island. This tragedy reminds us of the dangers our men and women in uniform face every day, and the great risks they willingly take, as they protect our nation.”
At the Halibut’s base in Marina del Rey on the day after the incident, friends and colleagues of Horne were visibly distraught as they recalled serving with the 14-year Coast Guard veteran, whose wife is pregnant with their second child.
Lt. Stewart Sibert, the Halibut’s commanding officer who served with Horne for a year and a half, called his colleague a natural leader who was one of the strongest people he’s ever known.
“I was blessed to have him as my second in command and words can’t express the admiration and respect that I have for him,” said Sibert, adding that Horne looked after the 12-man crew like no one else could.
“He was the best shipmate I’ve ever known,” Sibert said in an emotional tone. “He was a friend, a big brother to us all and he was absolutely irreplaceable.”
For Chief Kellian Whidden, the executive petty officer for Coast Guard Los Angeles-Long Beach Station, Horne offered to have her spend time with the cutter crew to gain more onboard experience and pass the command review. Horne was a leader who urged others to take pride in what they do, said Whidden, who was proud to call him chief.
“He understood and he lived the Coast Guard motto of honor and respect and finally giving the ultimate sacrifice of devotion to duty,” said Whidden.
Chief Casey Curry, the officer in charge of the Aids to Navigation Team at Los Angeles-Long Beach Station, first met Horne in 2001 when they were stationed together in Charleston, SC and he remembered how Horne decided to join the Coast Guard at the age of 18. Curry immediately had a good impression of Horne and learned a lot from his friend – most of all, “how to be a Coast Guardsman.”
“His true sense of leadership echoed throughout the station and many members looked up to him for guidance,” Curry said.
Sibert was reminded of two specific memories of Horne; one in which the chief helped rescue a group of stranded youth kayakers off the coast of Catalina Island and got them blankets and hot chocolate, and the other involving the recovery of a sailboat caught in rough seas off Anacapa Island. During the rescue of the sailing crew, it was Horne’s experience that made the difference in ensuring everyone got back alive, Sibert noted.
“There were at least three people who came back alive that night because of his experience and professionalism,” Sibert said.
“My crew and I are better for having served with him and we will dearly miss him.”
Following the collision that took Horne’s life Dec. 2, additional Coast Guard units were deployed, including an aircraft, and the panga was intercepted approximately 20 miles north of the Mexican border. Officers arrested two suspects described as Mexican nationals in connection with Horne’s death.
A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court has charged Jose Meija-Leyva and Manuel Beltran-Higuera with killing a United States officer while engaged in his duties, a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman said. §