Conducting rescue operations at sea is a long family tradition for Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Stuart Bangs, a boatswain’s mate serving at Coast Guard Station Point Allerton in Hull, Massachusetts. His cousin, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Donald Bangs, took part in the legendary rescue of dozens of crewmembers from two sinking tankers, the Pendleton and Fort Mercer, that occurred off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts, during a blizzard in February of 1952. The rescue was the focus of a best-selling book and recently released motion picture, The Finest Hours.
It was mid-February 1952 when two World War II-era tankers, SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton, split in half off the coast of Cape Cod during the height of a strong winter storm. The men on the tankers had little hope that help would come, but it did. While the help came from various motor lifeboat stations, cutters and air assets, one name shines through during this heroic rescue effort: Bernard Webber.
Coast Guard Cutter Webber, the service's first fast response cutter, arrives at Coast Guard Sector Miami. U.S. Coast Guard photo illustration. 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