UPDATED: First Sentinel Class cutter named for CG hero Webber

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The 153-foot long Sentinel-class patrol boat is capable of speeds of 28 plus knots. It is armed with one stabilized, remotely-operated 25mm chain gun and four crew-served .50 caliber machine guns. It has a crew capacity of 22 people and is able to perform independently for a minimum of five days at sea and be underway for 2,500 hours per year.(Illustration courtesy of Bollinger Shipyards)
The 153-foot long Sentinel-class patrol boat is capable of speeds of 28 plus knots. It is armed with one stabilized, remotely-operated 25mm chain gun and four crew-served .50 caliber machine guns. It has a crew capacity of 22 people and is able to perform independently for a minimum of five days at sea and be underway for 2,500 hours per year.(Illustration courtesy of Bollinger Shipyards)

Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard, announced today the first of the Coast Guard’s new Sentinel class cutters will bear the name of enlisted hero Bernard  C. Webber.

Following the commissioning of CGC Bernard C. Webber, all of the anticipated 58 fast response cutters in the Sentinel class will bear the names of Coast Guard heroes who served in the enlisted ranks.

"Formal portrait of Boatswain's Mate First Class Bernard Webber in 1952." (Official USCG Photo.)
"Formal portrait of Boatswain's Mate First Class Bernard Webber in 1952." (Official USCG Photo.)

“Naming the Sentinel-class cutters after Guardians who started out in the enlisted ranks highlights our heritage, ties our future to our past and ensures that these often unsung heroes are remembered,” said Charles “Skip” Bowen, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard. “In February 1952, then Petty Officer 1st Class Bernie Webber drove the 36500 through 60-foot seas to rescue 32 men off the stern of the tanker Pendleton to effect what is arguably the greatest rescue ever undertaken by the Coast Guard. I can’t think of any other Coast Guardsman who deserves the honor of having the first Sentinel-class cutter named after him or her more than Bernie.”

Admiral Allen invoked the memory of Alexander Hamilton in announcing the naming decision.

“Alexander Hamilton envisioned, “A few armed vessels judiciously stationed at the entrance to our ports, might be useful sentinels of the law.” The Bernard C. Webber and all of the Sentinel class cutters will continue to fulfill the vision that Hamilton saw for our service over 200 years ago.” (Click here to read the rest of Admiral Allen’s ALCOAST message on the naming of CGC Bernard C. Webber.)

The keel laying ceremony, the first major milestone in a ship’s journey towards commissioning, is scheduled for April 9, 2010. Webber’s daughter, Patricia, will serve as the cutter’s sponsor.

UPDATE: Yesterday was the keel laying ceremony for CGC Bernard C. Webber. Read more about the event, incuding Admiral Allen’s thoughts, at iCommandant by clicking here.

Ms. Pattie Hamilton stamps the keel of the first U.S. Coast Guard Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter during a keel laying ceremony. The first FRC is named after Ms. Hamilton's father, Petty Officer 1st Class Bernard C. Webber, who executed one of the most famous rescues in Coast Guard history. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas M. Blue.)
Ms. Pattie Hamilton stamps the keel of the first U.S. Coast Guard Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter during a keel laying ceremony. The first FRC is named after Ms. Hamilton's father, Petty Officer 1st Class Bernard C. Webber, who executed one of the most famous rescues in Coast Guard history. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas M. Blue.)

3 comments on “UPDATED: First Sentinel Class cutter named for CG hero Webber”

  1. Patty,
    With the film coming out next week, I reacquainted myself with the rescue story I heard as a child. I think most daughters think of their fathers as heroes, but not too many of us get to relive it by way of Hollywood. I saw here that your father is passed. I hope this film brings you peace and renewed pride.
    May God bless you and your family,
    Kim Leslie
    Mix 92.9
    Nashville TN

  2. When I was fresh out of boot camp at Cape May, my first assignment was at Chatham LBS. (I was actually assigned to the Electronic Repair Shop/Land Lines, which was attached to the Chatham station.) When I left Base Boston I was told to get to downtown Chatham and call the station, they would send someone to pick me up. I did so and imagine what I felt, a fresh boot, right out of Cape May when I saw the driver was in a khaki (officer’s, to me) uniform. After about the third time I called him “sir,” and he told me I didn’t have to, that he was only a chief, I finally got the message. That man was Bernie Webber and I served with him until he left Chatham.
    Years later, I found a copy of his book “Chatham: The Lifeboatmen” and bought it immediately. A year or two after that I decided to see if I could find him and ask him to sign my book. I tracked him down at his retirement residence in Florida and called him.
    Surprisingly, he remembered me and we chatted for quite a few minutes. When I told him why I had called, he told me that he and Mrs. Webber spend every summer in Eastham on the Cape and said for me to call him the following summer and he’d sign my book and buy me lunch, to boot.
    So I did. And he did, too, taking me to a small seafood joint right on the Mid-Cape Highway. The food was terrible, but the company was superb. He signed the book and we met 2 or 3 times after that, at the same place, same awful food but the same great company.
    It was an honor and a privilege to know Chief Bernard C. Webber.

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