When a servicemember pays the ultimate sacrifice, his or her family suffers an unimaginable loss. Spouses lose their loved one. Children lose a parent. A mother or father loses a child. “Oh Dear Rachel” encapsulates that loss as it recounts the last living moments of Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III who was killed attempting to stop suspected smugglers off the coast of California Dec. 2, 2012.
“This cadence isn’t just about remembering the sacrifice Senior Chief Horne Made that day; it’s about remembering the sacrifice his family made and ensuring we never forget the price that was paid to protect our Nation,” said Capt. Todd Prestidge, the commanding officer of Training Center Cape May.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut was on patrol near Santa Cruz Island, Calif., Dec. 2, 2012, when they spotted a suspicious vessel. Four crewmembers from the 87-foot cutter launched the ship’s small boat and gave chase. Then Chief Petty Officer Horne was in charge of the small boat crew as they located and approached the suspicious vessel. The Coast Guardsmen yelled for the suspected smugglers to stop their boat, but the men allegedly turned their 30-foot vessel toward the Coast Guardsmen’s small boat at high speed.
At the last minute, Horne pushed Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Langdon, who was directly in the path of the vessel, to the deck seconds before the smugglers’ vessel allegedly rammed the cutter’s small boat. Horne was struck in the head by the boat’s propeller. The suspected smugglers threw the 30-foot vessel in reverse and fled, which sent Langdon and Horne in to the water. Both men were recovered, but Horne died later from severe head trauma leaving behind his expectant wife, Rachel, and their two children.
“We hope Mrs. Horne knows that the entire Coast Guard, and future generations of Coast Guardsmen, will always be there to support her and her family,” said Capt. Prestidge. “Senior Chief Horne lives on in the hearts and minds of Coast Guardsmen everywhere.”
The Coast Guard will release the Top 5 Cadences throughout the week of Sept. 23, and the public will be given the opportunity to vote on their favorite cadence by “liking” it on Facebook and YouTube. The Top Coast Guard Cadence of 2013 will be announced the week of Oct. 14.
Training Center Cape May prepares more than 80 percent of the Coast Guard’s entire workforce to conduct the service’s frontline missions around the world. The Coast Guard is among the most selective and recruits the most qualified applicants of the five armed services. This rigorous training program educates future Coast Guardsmen in everything from basic water survival to marksmanship, and many graduates will be conducting Coast Guard missions just days after basic training.
Every cadence has a story, and every story has a meaning. “Oh Dear Rachel” not only tells the story of a Coast Guard hero, but it’s a sobering reminder of the sacrifices of those who cross the bar too soon and those who are left behind to pick up the pieces.