Bernard C. Webber

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Bernard C. Webber
USCG Petty Officer Bernard C. Webber lead the dramatic rescue of 33 sailors from the stricken freighter Pendleton -a.jpg
Born (1928-05-09)May 9, 1928
Milton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died January 24, 2009(2009-01-24) (aged 80)
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  U.S. Coast Guard
United States Merchant Marine
Rank USCG CW4 insignia.svg Chief Warrant Officer 4
Battles/wars

World War II

Vietnam War

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]

Career[edit]

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 and 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 that included a tour during the Vietnam War as a part of Operation Market Time.[1]

Personal life[edit]

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]

Legacy[edit]

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 Webber's 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]

Citations[edit]

  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)

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]