USA: CSCSU Staff and Students Pay Respects to Killed Shipmate
More than 100 staff members and students from the Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit (CSCSU) Great Lakes, Ill. gathered at the USS Whitehat trainer Jan. 14 to pay their respects to a shipmate who was killed during a robbery attempt Jan. 4.
Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Terrence M. Hill, 24, was in his hometown of Detroit on holiday leave when he was killed.
He was an instructor at CSCSU’s Gunner’s Mate “A” School where he had been stationed since October 2011.
Hill joined the Navy in November 2006 and after graduating “boot camp” and completing his seaman apprentice training at Great Lakes, he checked into Beachmaster Unit Two (BMU 2), in Little Creek, Va. in April 2007.
Lt. Carlos Torrespablos, director of training of Professional Mariners for Training Support Center (TSC) Great Lakes, also had the opportunity to serve with Hill in Little Creek where Torrespablos was the officer in charge.
“I relied very heavily on the dependability and credibility of Hill and not once did he ever let me down,” said Torrespablos. “Hill maintained and accounted for our weapons with the highest possible degree of reliability.”
Torrespablos credits Hill’s dedication to the job as the reason the BMU 2 weapons inventory was always precise and ready for the next mission.
“I could not have asked for a better or more professional Sailor to depend on in all aspects of my job,” added Torrespablos.
As a 3rd Class Petty Officer, Hill deployed to the Gulf Coast in response to Hurricane Ike where he was a LARC (Lighter, Amphibious, Resupply, Cargo) commander with the Beachmaster unit. His unit was then deployed to Haiti to continue providing disaster relief.
Hill’s next station was CSCSU, where he taught more than 500 students in four ratings. He also contributed as a Bystander Intervention (BI) facilitator, an assistant command fitness leader and served as a member of the auxiliary security force.
Cmdr. Jack Knick, CSCSU commanding officer, described Hill as an outstanding performer and top-notch Sailor.
“Hill was the ‘go-to’ person on any task that needed to be accomplished safely and efficiently,” said Knick. “He was an absolute top performer in every respect and performed at a level far beyond his current rank.”
Knick went on to describe Hill as a valued member of the instructor cadre in the GM “A” School who mentored many young Sailors.
“He was always looking for more challenges and volunteered for assignment to Naval Station Great Lake’s auxiliary security force where he excelled,” added Knick.
A gifted artist, Hill designed several rate-specific memorabilia items that were sold at the command ship’s store and also designed a coin that was received by all who attended the CSCSU holiday party.
Operations Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Rinehart, an instructor at GM “A” School was a close friend and roommate of Hill and was stationed with Hill at BMU 2.
“Not only was he a great LARC commander, but he kept the morale of the entire team up so we could all operate effectively,” said Rinehart. “I always looked up to him. He always did things for everyone and was selfless. He has taught me to focus on doing more things for other people and to always be ready to help somebody.”
Hill’s shipmates presented a plaque in Hill’s honor at the ceremony to be given to his family. In part, the plaque reads:
“GM2 was many things to the CSCSU family. He was a shipmate, a friend and a brother. If you had not met GM2, know that his kindness and immeasurable compassion has touched a countless number of people and has made a lasting impact on all of us fortunate enough to have known him and upon the Navy for which he served.”
Many staff members, spouses and friends from CSCSU drove to Detroit Jan. 11 to attend Hill’s funeral service.
Electronics Technician 2nd Class Eric Bennett, an instructor at CSCSU, was a pallbearer at Hill’s funeral. He shared an incident that happened on his way to the funeral. Bennett had heard a vehicle screech to a halt in traffic and the driver delivered a hand salute toward Bennett who was in his dress blues.
“The one thing about this is that I was taken aback because that individual bore a striking resemblance to Hill,” said Bennett. “I believe everything happens for a reason. And in my mind, to me, that was GM2 looking down on me and saying, ‘I feel your pain. Carry on shipmate.’ I shared many good times with GM2 and I ask all of you that knew him, both staff and students alike, to remember those times and hold them precious.”
Naval Today Staff, January 17, 2013; Image: US Navy