This year marks the 60th anniversary of one of the greatest search and rescue cases in the history of the Coast Guard, the Pendleton rescue. Due to the heroism, leadership and skill of Petty Officer Bernard C. Webber and his crew, 32 souls aboard the Pendleton were saved. Webber’s legacy in the service lives on, and nowhere was this more visible than Miami, where the service’s first fast response cutter, pulled into homeport for the first time.
The 154-foot fast response cutter, named after Webber, is the first in a class of cutters that will serve as sentinels of global trade and provide the nation with superior speed, firepower and flexibility needed to save lives and secure our homeland. The ship will be capable of deploying independently to conduct missions such as ports, waterways and coastal security; fishery patrols; drug and illegal migrant law enforcement; search and rescue; and national defense operations along the Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean.
Webber is capable of speeds of 28-plus knots and is armed with one stabilized, remotely operated 25 mm chain gun and four crew-served .50 caliber machine guns. With the ability to hold 24 people, the fast response cutter will be able to perform independently for a minimum of five days at sea and be underway for 2,500 hours per year.
It is most fitting the service’s first fast response cutter is named after “Bernie” Webber. His selfless actions during the 1952 rescue exemplify the character Coast Guard men and women emulate to this day.
“This month will mark the 60th anniversary of the loss of the tanker Pendleton off the coast of Cape Cod on Feb. 18, 1952,” said Rear Adm. Bill Baumgartner, commander of the 7th Coast Guard District at Webber’s arrival. “Bernard C. Webber’s heroic actions that night saved 32 of Pendleton’s crewmembers. Today’s event is an opportunity for us to reflect and honor the bravery of the Webber’s namesake, who truly was the embodiment of what it means to be a Coast Guardsman.”
Want to see more of the Bernard C. Webber? Watch the ship pull into Miami in the video below. Or, check out photos of Webber at its launching in April 2011. You can also learn more about the first 14 heroes Sentinel-class fast response cutters have been named for.