Sailor fought at Midway, retired as Navy captain
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
He was a young radar officer aboard the carrier USS Enterprise just a day out of the Hawaiian Islands when the Japanese navy attacked U.S. forces in Hawaii, including the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941.
Thomas Leo Horner survived and served on the Enterprise when it later helped defeat the Japanese navy at the Battle of Midway — a turning point in World War II. He also served in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Horner, 97, of Honolulu died Aug. 21.
Born in Mohall, N.D., Horner served in the Navy for more than 30 years, retiring as a captain at Pearl Harbor, his family said.
His grandson Jean-Pierre Bourquin said that during a drill on Dec. 6, 1941, cables became stuck under the rudder of the USS Enterprise, requiring divers to remove them and delaying the ship's entry into Pearl Harbor. Without that delay, the carrier would have been in port during the attack.
"Luckily, no aircraft carriers (including the USS Enterprise) were in port and were sunk that day," Bourquin said in a written summary of his grandfather's life.
The Enterprise was ordered to head south away from Oahu and regroup with other carriers, eventually defeating the Japanese at Midway the following June.
The family said Horner received numerous military citations, including a Bronze Star and a Presidential Unit Citation.
He later worked as a senior account executive at Insurance Associates Inc.
Horner is survived by his wife Philomena; sons Thomas M. and Thomas L. Jr.; daughters Sandra M. Bourquin and Michele A. Horner; brother Paul; 16 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren.
Visitation begins 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Star of the Sea Church, with Mass at 10:30 a.m. Burial takes place at 1 p.m. at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery. The family requests aloha attire and that no flowers be given.