CAPT Earnest R. Horrell enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June, 1938. He underwent recruit training at the U.S. Naval Training Center, San Diego, before reporting aboard the USS Vestal (AR-4). A "Mustang," he reported to NAS Pensacola for flight training as a Naval Aviation Pilot in July, 1941, and received his wings in February, 1942. He was commissioned a LTJG the following year.
From February, 1942, through August, 1944, CAPT Horrell flew PB2Y Coronado flying boats while attached to Patrol Squadron Thirteen. He participated in the Midway, Gilbert, Marshall and Truk Island campaigns.
In 1953, CAPT Horrell attended the Navy Test Pilot School and served a two-year tour of duty in the Flight Test Division. Following tours of duty as Executive Officer of Heavy Attack Squadron Nine, and Commanding Officer of Heavy Attack Squadron Three, he attended the Armed Forces Staff College, and the Navy War College
Prior to becoming Commanding Officer of the USS Salisbury Sound, CAPT Horrell served as operations officer on the staff of Commander, Fleet Air Whidbey Island.
After his tour of duty as Commanding Officer of the USS Salisbury Sound, he served on the staff of Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic. He is retired and lives in Florida.
Captain Clarence E. Mackey, USN, (right) assumed command of the USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13) from Captain Earnest R. Horrell, USN (left) on 7 March, 1966 while the 14,500 ton seaplane tender was operating seaplanes out of Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam.
It was the first time a United States man-o'-war changed Captains in Vietnam.