Autopsy Scheduled For NC Native Coast Guard Commander

The investigation continues into the death of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter's commanding officer, who was a Dare County native.

Commander Keith Willis was found Sunday in his cabin aboard the cutter Tahoma, while the ship was in its homeport of Kittery, Maine.

The cause of his death remains unknown. A 12-person honor guard escorted his remains ashore Sunday night.

Willis’ remains were taken ashore Sunday night around 7 p.m. under the care of a 12-person honor guard. Willis was a 20-year veteran of the Coast Guard.

“The thoughts and prayers of the entire crew are with Commander Willis’ family,” said the cutter's executive officer, Commander Greg Stanclik, who has been assigned temporary command of the ship. “This has been difficult for everyone, but being able to pipe the skipper ashore under appropriate military honors last night meant a lot to everyone.”

An autopsy is being conducted.

Willis, 44, was a husband and father of two. He was a native of Frisco.


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  • by Paul Location: Manteo on Feb 17, 2009 at 06:59 AM
    This is a tragedy in itself and a sad time for the people in the Outer Banks. I knew Keith and thought very well of him. He will be truely missed by all of us.
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