Bernard C. Webber

Bernard Challen Webber (May 9, 1928 – January 24, 2009) was a United States Coast Guardsman.[1][2] He was a petty officer assigned to Station Chatham, Massachusetts, and part of his duties were that of coxswain of Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat CG 36500. Webber and his crew of three rescued the crew of the stricken T2 tanker SS Pendleton, which had broken in half during a horrific storm on February 18, 1952 off Cape Cod. Webber maneuvered the 36-foot lifeboat under Pendleton's stern with expert skill as the tanker's crew, trapped in the stern section, abandoned the wreck of their ship on a Jacobs ladder into the Coast Guard motor lifeboat.[1]

Bernard C. Webber
USCG Petty Officer Bernard C. Webber lead the dramatic rescue of 33 sailors from the stricken freighter Pendleton -a
BornMay 9, 1928
Milton, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedJanuary 24, 2009 (aged 80)
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch U.S. Coast Guard
United States Merchant Marine
RankUSCG CW4 insignia.svg Chief Warrant Officer 4
Battles/warsWorld War II Vietnam War


Webber and his crew of three – Engineman Third Class Andrew Fitzgerald, Seaman Richard Livesey, and Seaman Ervin Maske – saved 32 of the 33 crewmen who were on the stern section of SS Pendleton when the ship broke in two. (The remaining members of the ship's full crew were on the bow section and died when it broke off and sank.) All four Coast Guardsmen were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for their heroic actions.[1] Their successful rescue operation has been noted as one of the greatest in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.[3]

Webber was a veteran of the Merchant Marine during World War II then later joined the Coast Guard in 1946.

At the time of the Pendleton rescue Webber was serving as a boatswain's mate first class at Station Chatham.

He rose to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer (Boatswain specialty) during a 20-year military career which included a tour during the Vietnam War as a part of Operation Market Time.[1]

Personal life

Webber was born in Milton, Massachusetts, the son of Anne (Knight) and Reverend A. Bernard Webber.[4] He was married to Miriam Penttinen. Webber died on January 24, 2009.[2]


The first-in-class Sentinel-class cutter, USCGC Bernard C. Webber was named in his honor.[5] She was commissioned on 14 April 2012 at her home-port of Miami, Florida.

A history of the rescue of the men of Pendleton and Mercer, including Bernard Webber's heroic role in the rescue of the men of the stern of Pendleton, was presented in the 2009 book The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue, (Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman). This book was later reissued in a "young adult" edition and adapted into a 2016 feature film, The Finest Hours by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, depicting the Pendleton rescue with Chris Pine portraying Webber.[6]

Webber's memoir was published in 2015, titled Lightships, Lighthouses, and Lifeboat Stations: A Memoir and History (ISBN 978-1627340625).[7]


  1. ^ a b c d "Bernard C. Webber, USCG, 1928-2009", Coast Guard Heroes, U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office
  2. ^ a b Webster, W. Russell; "A Tribute: Bernie Webber, CWO (Ret.)", U.S. Coast Guard History Program, U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office
  3. ^ Kroll, p 25
  4. ^ "The Pendleton Disaster off Cape Cod". Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  5. ^ Lagan, Christopher, "First Sentinel Class cutter named for CG hero Webber", Coast Guard Compass, Official CG Blog
  6. ^ Lamothe, Dan; "The real-life story behind Disney's forthcoming Coast Guard rescue movie, 'The Finest Hours'", Washington Post
  7. ^ Webber, (2015)


External links

36-foot motor lifeboat

The United States Coast Guard's series of motor lifeboats included a class of 36 foot motor lifeboats.

The Coast Guard built the first of version these vessels in 1929 (Type "T"), and retired the last active version (Type "TRS" 1937-1956), in 1987 (CG-36535 Station Depot Bay OR) as they were replaced by the 44 foot Steel Hull Motor Lifeboat. CG 36500 was retired from active service in 1968, and has since been restored and preserved as a floating museum.

These vessels are remembered for the daring rescues Coast Guard seamen performed, using them.

Unlike the Coast Guard's more recent motor lifeboat, the 47 foot motor lifeboat, the 36 foot class was piloted entirely from an open cockpit, where crew-members were exposed to the elements. This was a hardship for the crew, as many rescues were of mariners at risk precisely because their vessels were at risk due to bad weather.

The most memorable rescue performed using a 36-foot lifeboat was that of crew members of the stricken SS Pendleton by CG 36500 under the command of Boatswain's Mate Bernard C. Webber.

The 2016 feature film The Finest Hours is based on the 1952 Pendleton rescue.

Bernard Webber

Bernard Webber may refer to:

Bernard C. Webber, coxswain of a US Coast Guard motor lifeboat, honored by naming a Sentinel class cutter after him

USCGC Bernard C. Webber (WPC 1101), first Sentinel class cutter, based in Miami Florida

Bernard George Webber (1914–2000), Canadian politician and educator

Boatswain's mate (United States Coast Guard)

The most versatile member of the Coast Guard's operational team is the boatswain's mate (BM). Boatswain's mates are masters of seamanship. BMs are capable of performing almost any task in connection with deck maintenance, small boat operations, navigation, and supervising all personnel assigned to a ship's deck force. BMs have a general knowledge of lines and cables, including different uses, stresses, strains, and proper stowing. BMs operate hoists, cranes, and winches to load cargo or set gangplanks, and stand watch for security, navigation or communications.

Bollinger Shipyards

Bollinger Shipyards is an American constructor of ships, workboats and patrol vessels.

Its thirteen shipyards and forty drydocks are located in Louisiana and Texas. Its drydocks range in capacity from vessels of 100 tons displacement to 22,000 tons displacement. The firm was founded in 1946.

Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat CG 36500

Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat CG-36500 is a historic, 36-foot lifeboat that is berthed at Rock Harbor in Orleans, Massachusetts. Built in 1946, it is notable for its involvement in the SS Pendleton rescue, one of the most daring such events recorded in the history of the United States Coast Guard. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, and now serves as a museum boat.

February 1952 nor'easter

The February 1952 nor'easter was a significant winter storm that impacted the New England region of the United States. The storm ranked as Category 1, or "notable", on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale. Its rapid intensification resulted in heavy snowfall between February 17 and 18, accumulating to 12 to 30 inches (30 to 76 cm). High winds also affected central and northern New England. The nor'easter is estimated to have caused 42 fatalities. In Maine, over 1,000 travelers became stranded on roadways. Two ships cracked in two offshore New England during the storm.

Lifeboat (rescue)

A rescue lifeboat is a boat rescue craft which is used to attend a vessel in distress, or its survivors, to rescue crew and passengers. It can be hand pulled, sail powered or powered by an engine. Lifeboats may be rigid, inflatable or rigid-inflatable combination hulled vessels.

List of United States Coast Guard people

The following is a list of people who served in the United States Coast Guard and have gained fame through previous or subsequent endeavors, infamy, or successes:

Note: When adding a name to this list, please place the same in alphabetical order and provide a reliable verifiable source. Secondary sources such as fansites are not allowed. As a guide please see: sources. Additions that are not in alphabetical order and/or do not provide a primary reliable verifiable source will be removed.

Richard Dixon (USCG)

Richard Dixon was the coxswain of a 44-foot Motor Lifeboat, on the July 4th weekend of 1980, when his skill and daring enabled him to rescue stricken pleasure boat crew off Tillamook Bay, Oregon.

During the first incident a 58-foot yacht was in distress in the aftermath of hurricane Celia, and needed to seek sheltered waters, but wave conditions seemed likely to batter it apart if it tried to use the narrow entrance between two stone jetties to enter Tillamook Bay's harbor. Dixon and the coxswain of another motor lifeboat maneuvered beside the yacht, to absorb some of the wave energy as it entered harbor.

In the second incident two pleasure boat occupants had fallen overboard and were within fifty feet of being dashed upon the harbor's breakwater.

In spite of the danger of maneuvering so close to the crashing waves, in such high sea conditions, Dixon was able to rescue the pleasure boaters.

Dixon received Coast Guard Medals for both rescues.

Sentinel-class cutter

The Sentinel-class cutter, also known as Fast Response Cutter due to its program name, is part of the United States Coast Guard's Deepwater program.

At 46.8 metres (154 ft) it is similar to, but larger than the eight unseaworthy 123-foot (37 m) lengthened 1980s-era 110-foot Island-class patrol boats, like USCGC Matagorda taken out of service in December 2006. Up to 58 vessels are to be built by the Louisiana-based firm Bollinger Shipyards, using a design from the Netherlands-based Damen Group, with the Sentinel design based on the company's Damen Stan 4708 patrol vessel.

USCGC Bailey T. Barco

USCGC Bailey T. Barco (WPC-1122) is the United States Coast Guard's 22nd Sentinel-class cutter, and the second to be stationed in Alaska, where she was homeported at Coast Guard Base Ketchikan.The vessel's manufacturer, Bollinger Shipyards, of Lockport, Louisiana, delivered the ship to the Coast Guard on February 7, 2017, for her acceptance trials. After completion sea trials, USCGC Bailey T. Barco was commissioned on June 14, 2017 in Juneau, Alaska.

USCGC Bernard C. Webber (WPC-1101)

USCGC Bernard C. Webber (WPC-1101) is the first of the United States Coast Guard's 58 Sentinel-class cutters.

Like most of her sister ships, she replaced a 110-foot (34 m) Island-class patrol boat. Bernard C. Webber, and the next five vessels in the class, Richard Etheridge, William Flores, Robert Yered, Margaret Norvell, and Paul Clark, are all based in Miami, Florida.

USCGC Forrest Rednour

USCGC Forrest Rednour (WPC-1129) is the 29th Sentinel-class cutter built for the United States Coast Guard. She is the first of the four vessels of her class to be home-ported in San Pedro, California. Other sister ships have been based in Florida, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, New Jersey, North Carolina, Hawaii and Alaska. But Forrest Rednour is the first to be homeported on the west coast of the lower 48 states. The vessel will be homeported at a base near Los Angeles' Terminal Island. Three sister ships will join her, at this base.

USCGC Joseph Doyle

USCGC Joseph Doyle (WPC-1133) is the United States Coast Guard's 33rd Sentinel-class cutter. She was completed, and transferred to Coast Guard, in Key West, for her acceptance trials, on March 21, 2019. She will be the first of a second cohort of cutters to be commissioned in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Six cutters were commissioned there in 2015 and 2016.

USCGC Joseph Gerczak

USCGC Joseph Gerczak (WPC-1126) is the 26th Sentinel-class cutter built for the United States Coast Guard. She will be the second member of the three members of her class to be homeported in Honolulu, Hawaii.

USCGC Oliver F. Berry

USCGC Oliver F. Berry (WPC-1124) is the United States Coast Guard's 24th Sentinel-class cutter. She was the first member of the three members of her class to be homeported in Honolulu, Hawaii.

USCGC Richard Etheridge (WPC-1102)

USCGC Richard Etheridge is the second of the United States Coast Guard's Sentinel-class cutters.

Like most of her sister ships she replaced a 110-foot (34 m) Island-class patrol boat. Richard Etheridge was launched in August 2011.The vessel was officially delivered to the Coast Guard on May 26, 2012, at Key West, Florida, and was commissioned into service in Port Everglades, Florida, on August 3, 2012.Richard Etheridge, and the first and third vessels in the class, Bernard C. Webber, and William Flores, are all based in Miami, Florida.Like the other ships of her class, Richard Etheridge is named after an enlisted member of the Coast Guard.

USCGC Richard Snyder

USCGC Richard Snyder (WPC-1127) is the 27th Sentinel-class cutter built for the United States Coast Guard. She is the first of her class to be home-ported in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.

USCGC Robert Ward

USCGC Robert Ward (WPC-1130) is the 30th Sentinel-class cutter, and the second of four assigned to the San Pedro Coast Guard station, adjacent to Los Angeles, California.

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