DETROIT — U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are patrolling the Detroit River in a boat launched Thursday in the name of slain Agent Brian Terry.
It's the same swath of river where Terry, 40, boated as he grew up in Flat Rock and served as a police officer in Ecorse and Lincoln Park before becoming a Border Patrol agent.
Terry was killed Dec. 14, 2010, in a U.S. gun-smuggling operation known as Operation Fast and Furious.
The former Marine was killed after a shoot-out with smuggling suspects along the Arizona and Mexico border.
On Thursday, his mother, Josephine Terry, 72, of Brownstown Township, christened the Brian A. Terry with a spray of champagne.
The 25-foot, aluminum-hulled boat with twin 225-horsepower engines and a 51-mph cruising speed will be used to prevent smuggling along the Canadian border from Trenton to the mouth of Lake Erie.
"It makes me so proud that Brian has been honored in so many ways, and now our hero has a beautiful vessel in his name, close to the hometown where he was raised," his mother said at the waterfront ceremony at Elizabeth Park in Trenton. "I am sure Brian is smiling down and grateful that his brothers in green have honored and have kept his amazing legacy alive."
The event drew dozens of Border Patrol agents, officers, dignitaries, family and friends, including Terry's father, stepparents, brother and two sisters. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., and Eastern District U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade also attended.
The head of the U.S. Border Patrol, Michael Fisher, emphasized the christening is another way to live the phrase, "We will never forget."
"What Brian did in life and throughout his career in law enforcement, and certainly with the Border Patrol, was the epitome of honor," Fisher said. "If we could be half of the agent, with half the commitment and dedication to service and excellence, if we could aspire to be half of what Brian was, then my career personally would be fulfilled. That's why I always do not forget."
Terry's partner at the Ecorse Police Department from 1998-2000, Sgt. Geoffrey Howard, said he misses boating on the Detroit River and patrolling the streets with Terry.
"A great friend — I miss him very much," Howard said. "I think it's an honor for them to dedicate this boat to him. I'm kind of emotional right now, trying to hold it together. But he would be proud and be satisfied."
Contributing: The Associated Press