Coast Guard Commander's Body Returning To North Carolina

The body of a Coast Guard commander, found dead on his ship on Sunday, is headed back to the Outer Banks.

Commander Keith Willis from Frisco was found dead in his cabin aboard the Coast Guard cutter Tahoma. The ship was home ported in Kittery, Maine.

An honor guard made of of Willis' crew members escorted the commander's body to Boston where it was placed on a commercial flight to Norfolk.

The Coast Guard says its investigation into Willis' death remains open pending final results of an autopsy. A preliminary cause of death from the medical examiner's office in Augusta, Maine said the commander died from natural causes.


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  • by Paul Laino Location: Rockford Illinois on Mar 19, 2009 at 11:47 AM
    I was stationed onboard Tahoma from 92-95. I am saddened to hear of his passing. God bless all who are hurting due to the loss.
  • by Dexter Location: Alameda, CA on Feb 22, 2009 at 10:46 AM
    I served with CDR willis on CGC Dauntless. He was a great XO! God bless and RIP CDR Willis.
  • by Dan Location: Yorktown VA on Feb 20, 2009 at 06:51 PM
    A huge loss felt through out the Coast Guard. I pray for the strength of his family and crew. V/R, GMCS
  • by Robert Location: South Padre Island, TX on Feb 20, 2009 at 06:35 PM
    I had the great honor of serving with CDR Willis on the CGC Dauntless where he was our XO from 01-03. He was an outstanding Officer and a better person. Great attitude, loving father, and allowed myself to miss half a patrol to witness the birth of my first child. He and his leadership will be greatly missed and I'm glad to have served with him. God Bless, and again Fair Winds and Following Seas.
  • by Tony Location: Greenville NC on Feb 20, 2009 at 05:47 PM
    While I have never been in the service I have long admired the Coast Guard. I wish the Commander's family heart felt prayers and good wishes. God Bless Commander Willis and Fair Winds and Following Winds from me as well ( Thanks Puddle Pirate )
  • by Kirk Location: Hanover, MD on Feb 20, 2009 at 04:00 PM
    I too was stationed on CGC Bear with CDR Willis. We both found out our wives were pregnant during a Mid-patrol break in Miami, FL. He was happy for me and my wife. CDR Willis was a good man, and a good Coast Guard Officer.
  • by Fergy Location: TX on Feb 20, 2009 at 02:43 PM
    I too served with CDR Willis from 94-96 on the Bear. He was the OPS Officer on there and was a whole lot better than the previous OPS. He would sit down and just talk with anyone. Never stand-offish. All around great person. He was a Tarheel thru and thru. My heart goes out to his family. To the crew of the Tahoma, I offer my condolence.
  • by Tim Location: CGC Tahoma on Feb 20, 2009 at 06:20 AM
    Please get your info correct before running a story. Our Captains remains are not going back to North Carolina, he was however from NC. His remains were flown to Norfolk, VA and he is being prepared for his funeral in Portsmouth, VA.
  • by huh? on Feb 19, 2009 at 12:22 PM
    why wasn't a Coast Guard plane used?
  • by Former Puddle Pirate Location: ENC on Feb 19, 2009 at 12:20 PM
    From one Coastie to another, RIP Commander Willis.I served from 88-97, and I always heard good things about your character. Fair winds and following seas brother.
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