Ceremony to honor epic marine rescue

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The Coast Guard will hold a ceremony Wednesday in Boston commemorating the 60th anniversary of the SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton rescues.

On Feb. 18, 1952, during a severe nor’easter off the coast of Cape Cod, the tankers Fort Mercer and Pendleton broke in half. While Fort Mercer radioed for help, Pendleton was unable to make any distress call; the tanker was soon discovered on radar by Station Chatham during the search for Fort Mercer.

Despite brutal sea conditions, the crew of Station Chatham's motor lifeboat CG-36500 rescued 32 crewmembers off Pendleton. Each crewmember of the 36500 was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for their actions. Another crew from Station Chatham, along with Coast Guard cutters Eastwind, Unimak, Yakutat, Acushnet, and McCulloch, as well as various aircraft, coordinated the rescue of 38 crew from the sinking Fort Mercer.

The public is invited to attend an open house at Base Support Unit Boston to commemorate these rescues. The open house will feature guest speakers, imagery, artifacts, and the opportunity to meet those actually involved with the rescues.

Click here for the full press release and click here for information on the rescue, including historical photos.

The non-profit preservation group dedicated to Nantucket Lightship LV-112 interviewed Bernard C. Webber, coxswain of motor lifeboat CG-36500 shortly before he died in 2009 and has republished the interview in honor of the anniversary.

Click here for the interview.

Despite brutal sea conditions, the crew of Station Chatham’s motor lifeboat CG?36500 rescued 32 crewmembers off Pendleton. Each crewmember of the 36500 was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for their actions.