Family, comrades and a top federal official paid respects Saturday to a slain U.S. Coast Guard chief petty officer from Redondo Beach. A private memorial ceremony was held on Terminal Island in San Pedro.
One man, wearing a red sweater, shorts and cowboy boots, stood out among dozens of uniformed Coast Guard members. He lifted his hands in reverence, holding a memorial service program that listed various achievements of 34-year-old Terrell Horne III.
The veteran senior chief petty officer was killed a week ago after suspected smugglers rammed his search boat off the coast of Santa Barbara. He suffered a fatal blow to the head.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke of Horne’s bravery during dozens of search and rescue missions.
“We have lost a cherished member of our extended family," Napolitano said. " Senior Chief Horne was a leader, a mentor, a friend, and in the words of his commanding officer, ‘The glue that held our crew together.’”
Napolitano told the crowd of attendees that the tragic attack reminds the country of the dangers Coast Guard members face.
“The pain of Senior Chief Horne’s loss will be felt far and wide, across the station, across the Coast Guard, across the Department of Homeland Security and our larger law enforcement and military family," Napolitano added.
Horne’s pregnant spouse Rachel sat in the front row, holding one of their two young sons.
Her cousin, Reverend Dave Carpenter of Brentwood Presbyterian Church, reminded her to cherish the memories.
“If you spend a lifetime regularly and diligently sharing stories and memories and pictures with the children and with each other, you will keep Terrell very much alive," Carpenter said. "And at the center of your lives for the rest of your life and well beyond, because death is not the end of the relationship, it is not the end of the influence.”
Horne had served in the Coast Guard for 14 years. Two Mexican nationals face federal charges in his death.