Crew of the CG 36500
I was born in Milton, Massachusetts on May 9, 1928, and was a United States Coast Guardsman. I was a petty officer assigned to the Coast Guard Station in Chatham, Massachusetts, and part of my duties were that of coxswain of Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat CG 36500. I was a veteran of the Merchant Marine during World War II then later joined the Coast Guard in 1946.
I rose to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer (Boatswain specialty) during a 20-year military career which included a tour during the Vietnam War as a part of Operation Market Time.
My parents were Anne (Knight) and Reverend A. Bernard Webber. My earliest American ancestor was the English immigrant Thomas Webber who came to Massachusetts in 1643 as part of the Puritan migration to New England, through this line Bernard was the 10th generation of my family to be born in Massachusetts. I was married to Miriam Penttinen, and died on January 24, 2009.
I was born in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, about 14 miles southeast of Worcester on March 19, 1931, to Andrew and Edna Fitzgerald. I was the last surviving member of a Coast Guard crew that took a lifeboat out into the Atlantic in a raging blizzard in 1952 and helped rescue 32 of 33 merchant seamen clinging to the remains of a tanker that had split in two off Cape Cod. Early in my career, I worked at a machine shop, earned an associate degree in engineering at Worcester Junior College and in 1956 married Gloria Frabotta. Following my career in the Coast Guard, I sold electric motors and clutches in New England before moving to Denver. I sold precision equipment there until I retired in the 1990s. I passed away at age 87 in Aurora, Colorad0, and was survived by my daughter, Dawn Huffman; a son, Michael; a brother, Bill; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
I was born on April 24, 1929 and grew up in Marinette on the shore of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and followed my older brothers into the service, choosing the Coast Guard. At the time of the Pendleton rescue, I was a 23-year-old seaman assigned to the lightship Stonehorse, essentially a floating lighthouse off the coast, and was at the Coast Guard station in Chatham, waiting for the storm to pass so I could return to my ship. I had much to lose and not much to gain on this operation, with a crew I had never met before, but I volunteered for the rescue mission without a second of uncertainty. I was married to my 1st wife, Ida on October 4, 1951, and died on October 7, 2003 at the age of 74.
I wasn’t a household name around the Lower Cape, and before my death at the age of 77, I had lived in Florida. But my bravery, back in 1952, will long be remembered by the Coast Guard and by those I helped rescue as a crew member aboard the CG36500, the lifeboat that is displayed every summer at Rock Harbor. I was the second of the four crew members to die. Along with my crewmates, I earned Coast Guard gold lifesaving medals for braving a brutal winter storm the night of Feb. 18, 1952 and rescuing 32 men from the stricken tanker Pendleton, which had split in half off the coast of Cape Cod.