Local hero Webber credited with helping make one of the "greatest rescues in Coast Guard history"
The Coast Guard Cutter Webber, the USCG's first Sentinel Class patrol boats, arrived at Coast Guard Sector Miami Thursday, ready for duty. The Webber is a 154-foot Fast Response Cutter capable of speeds of 28-plus knots. The vessel is armed with one stabilized, remotely operated 25mm chain gun and four crew-served .50 caliber machine guns.
The Webber holds 24 crew members and is capable of remaining at sea for a minimum of five days and be underway for 2,500 hours per year.
All new Sentinel Class patrol boats are to be named after Coast Guard heroes, according to the USCG. The Webber is named after local Cape Cod hero Bernard C. Webber, a coxswain of the motor lifeboat CG-365000 out of Station Chatham. Webber and his crew are credited with saving the lives of 32 men aboard the SS Pendleton on February 18, 1952 during a raging nor'easter.
"I am very excited about the arrival of the Coast Guard Cutter Webber," said Rear Adm. Bill Baumgartner, commander of the 7th Coast Guard District. "It is the first of 18 Fast Response Cutters that are scheduled to be delivered to the 7th Coast Guard District over the next several years. This new cutter fleet will be a vital instrument in supporting illicit migrant and narcotic trafficking interdiction, but will only fill a portion of the critical gap we face in our operational capability. While the Fast Response Cutters are highly capable platforms, the Coast Guard is in need of an Offshore Patrol Cutter as well. These OPCs would be able to deploy greater distances, effectively extending our maritime border outward to prevent threats to our national security. The OPC would replace our aging Medium Endurance Cutter fleet, most of which are over 40 years old and in desperate need of recapitalization to meet the future security needs of America."
The Webber will be deployed independently to conduct missions including port, waterway and coastal security, fishery patrols, drug and illegal migrant law enforcement and search and rescue from the Gulf of Mexico to the Carribbean.
This month marks the 60th anniversary of the SS Pendleton rescue in which USCG crewmen saved the lives of 32 of the 33 men aboard the doomed tankard.