Lifesaving Service · News · U.S. Coast Guard

February 18th Marks the 65th Anniversary of the Pendleton Rescue

The stern of the tanker Pendleton as she rested on a sand bar off the coast of Cape Cod. USCG photo by Richard C. Kelsey courtesy Jeff Shook
The stern of the tanker Pendleton as she rested on a sand bar off the coast of Cape Cod. Note the Jacobs ladder used by the crew to reach the rescue boat. USCG photo by Richard C. Kelsey courtesy Jeff Shook

The heroic 1952 rescue of 32 crew members aboard the sinking tanker Pendelton was dramatized in the recent movie “The Finest Hours.” The Chatham Historical Society will recognize its 65th anniversary with events hosted at the Atwood House & Museum that include a special screening of a documentary film of several witnesses who shared their memories of that day.

Seaman Irving Maske (foreground) and BM1 Bernard Webber on board the CG36500 after arriving safely back in Chatham. Photo by Richard C. Kelsey courtesy Jeff Shook.

The hero of the story, BM1 Bernard Webber, is not alive to participate in the commemoration, but he was contacted before the 50th anniversary of the rescue and his version of events are reflected in an article that appeared in the Naval Institute Proceedings in December 2001 and was reproduced on the U.S. Coast Guard’s website.

In their 36-foot motorboat Webber and his all-volunteer crew faced heavy seas in crossing a sandbar to reach the broken Pendleton. Pushed on its side by enormous waves, Webber’s self-righting lifeboat recovered each time, but its engines had to be restarted and in one dunking the compass was washed off its mount. Only with Webber’s remarkable skills as a boat handler and navigator, was the boat able to reach the Pendleton, rescue the crew in its stern, and return safely to Chatham. Thanks to the efforts of Webber and his three crewmen, all but one of those Pendleton crew members survived the ordeal. (The seven men who were in the bow of the vessel perished after the boat broke in two.)

For more information, see the recent Cape Cod Chronicle article and USCG’s 50th Anniversary post (2001).

On May 14, 1952, 21 Coast Guardsmen received medals for their roles in the rescue of 70 men from the tankers Pendleton and Fort Mercer during the same storm off Cape Cod. USCG photo
On May 14, 1952, 21 Coast Guardsmen received medals for their roles in the rescue of 70 men from the tankers Pendleton and Fort Mercer during the same violent storm off Cape Cod. USCG photo

Based on submission from the Society’s affiliate U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association, February 15, 2017

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

Keepers · News · U.S. Coast Guard

A Guiding Light

This article from the Coast Guard Mid Atlantic blog seems very appropriate as we celebrate Black History month. A Guiding Light describes John White’s experiences as Officer in Charge of Thomas Point Shoal Light Station, Maryland.

For a related video, goto https://www.dvidshub.net/video/434565/thomas-point-lighthouse-visit.

Original article by David R. Marin, USCG Petty Officer 2nd Class

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.