The Daring Coast Guard Rescue of the Pendleton Crew

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Journalist, author and historian Theresa M.

National Endowment for the Humanities

Barbo is the author of six books of historical non-fiction published by The History Press. Barbo is a noted public speaker throughout New England and a former award-winning broadcast journalist and news magazine history editor. She is also a former executive in the non-profit sector. Captain W. Russell Webster retired in after 26 years of Coast Guard service. He served as Group Woods Hole rescue commander from to He also served as the Coast Guard's regional operations officer for the September 11 terrorist attack responses.

Julia Marshall is an artist and illustrator living in New Orleans. Learn more about Julia at JMarStudio. For additional items please see our many other pages as well. In the winter of , New England was battered by the most brutal nor'easter in years. In the early hours of February 18, the men at Coast Guard Lifeboat Station Chatham manned the radios in anticipation of distress calls sure to come.

Two tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, built with low quality steel, found themselves 10 to 20 miles offshore in the same horrifying predicament. Soon both tankers soon split in two, leaving the men on board utterly at the Atlantic's mercy.


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The men held out little hope. The men were aware that they were embarking on a possible suicide mission. From Coast Guard accounts, the boat landed on its side, recovered, and was struck again. Tons of seawater crashed over the boat breaking its windshield and compass and flattening coxswain Webber. Shown are survivors of the tanker Fort Mercer following their rescue, arriving in Boston on the cutter Acushnet.

Webber struggled to regain control and steer into the towering waves to bring CG across the bar. Engineer Fitzgerald worked in the cramped compartment to keep the engine running as the weather and visibility worsened. After multiple approaches and 20 survivors safely recovered, the CG began to handle sluggishly, but there was no turning back. It was all or nothing. Finally, 32 of 33 survivors were onboard the CG There remained only one giant of a man, George Tiny Myers, left on board.

The True Story of The Final Hour

There was now nothing left to do but return - dangerously overloaded, lost, with no compass to steer by and in zero visibility. In time, a red flashing light appeared!

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Although not all of the eighty-four men caught at sea that night survived, it is a testament to the Coast Guard crews that any came home at all. To this day, the rescue of 32 men by the crew of the CG remains the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history! The rescue made international headlines and for their heroism, the four stubborn Coast Guardsmen would receive the Congressional gold life-saving medal.

In CG was retired.

She languished in the bushes on Cape Cod for thirteen years until she was acquired by the Orleans Historical Society. Today CG has been lovingly restored by area volunteers and is again seaworthy. She is on exhibit as a floating museum dedicated to the memory of the life-savers of Cape Cod.

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A few years ago I was fortunate to have been aboard CG as she again approached that dreaded Chatham Bar in a light wind and rain, bringing to mind that time sixty years ago. For me it was a thrill indeed, bringing to me a heightened sense of respect for the Coast Guard crews that day that I will never forget. Information taken from US Coast Guard accounts. Tougias and Casey Sherman. They will be filming at studios in Quincy, Mass.

We have been working to obtain items and uniforms for the production and we will keep you posted on the progress. Update: The movie is complete and will be released in Chatham on January 28, and worldwide the following day. Read of that day from Coxswain Webber himself:. Webber, Bernard C. Orleans , Mass. Illustrated with numerous photographs. Late in February , a northeaster swept New England with bitter cold, snow and gale force winds. East of Chatham knot winds and foot seas battered merchant vessels as the tankers SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton met the full force of the storm.

They both broke in two on the morning of February 19th with 84 half-frozen men marooned on the battered hulks. The story of how these men were rescued is retold even today. In the days following the ordeal, twenty-one Coast Guardsmen would be decorated. The men who ventured into foot seas in the little foot CG motor lifeboat to rescue the tanker crews showed what heroism really is.

The Daring Coast Guard Rescue of the Pendleton Crew

Wonderful reading. Bernard C. Stiff cloth wraps. Autographed by the author. Contents clean, rarely opened. A few marks to back wrap. Inscribed by the author to the Monomoy Yacht Club 5. Contents clean, slightly age toned, rarely opened. Coast Guard Foot Motor Lifeboat. Complete unassembled plastic model kit by Glencoe Models reproduces this renown rescue craft in splendid detail, including all decals and three scale figures. This sturdy craft has been responsible for the rescue of hundreds of seamen and now you can build one for display on your shelves too.

This is a Hard to find Glencoe Model, known and respected by model collectors and aficionados world wide. Award Winning unique model made from the highest quality materials. Certain to create hours of excitement for any model enthusiast. Includes new decal set for CG Run time min. When a massive storm strikes off the coast of Cape Cod, it rips a T-2 oil tanker in half, trapping more than 30 sailors on its rapidly sinking stern.

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The Finest Hours has incredible and astonishing true-to-life heroism and action-packed rescue scenes. This marvelous and terrifying yarn Los Angeles Times deserves a place as a classic of survival at sea The Boston Globe. In the days following the ordeal, twenty-one Coast Guardsmen involved in multiple rescue missions would be decorated.

William P. Quinn photo. Difficult to find color postcard features an image of the Coast Guard motor lifeboat CG known best for the rescue of 32 sailors from the broken and foundering tanker SS Pendleton off Chatham, Cape Cod. A portion of the procedes from these cards goes to the Orleans Historical Society for the continued preservation of CG February Hilda Colby, looks at photo of the Fort Mercer.

Her husband, Howard S. Colby, was First Engineer on the doomed vessel and was listed as missing when this photo was taken. Dated February 20, Clear, close view, great detail.

John M. Josephs of the Acushnet. Shown are crewmen Alanson S.