The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue

By Michael J. Tougias, Casey Sherman

Within the iciness of 1952, New England was once battered by means of the main brutal nor’easter in years. because the climate wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic turned a wind-whipped area of peril, environment the degree for some of the most heroic rescue tales ever lived.

In the early hours of Monday, February 18, whereas the typhoon raged, oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, found themselves within the related frightening hindrance. outfitted with "dirty steel," and never ready to resist such ferocious seas, either tankers break up in , leaving the handfuls of guys on board completely on the Atlantic’s mercy. The most interesting Hours is the gripping, real tale of the valiant try to rescue the souls huddling contained in the damaged halves of the 2 ships.

The spellbinding story is overflowing with breathtaking scenes, as boats capsize, bows and sterns crash into each other, and males hurl themselves into the raging sea of their terrifying conflict for survival.

Not all the eighty-four males stuck at sea in the course of that brutal typhoon survived, yet contemplating the chances, it’s a miracle—and a testomony to their bravery—that any got here domestic to inform their stories in any respect.

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The lack of Myers used to be in particular demanding on Webber. He had obvious the man’s worried eyes as demise used to be final in on him that attempting evening in February 1952. Bernie replayed the rescue again and again in his brain, pondering if there has been anything he may have performed to prevent the bad collision that despatched Myers to his demise. Others advised him the twist of fate was once unavoidable given the moving seas and the tough nature of the hurricane. Webber used to be reminded of the pivotal position he performed within the rescue of the thirty-two survivors who may have died with no his aid. He might take solace during this excellent feat, yet merely to some degree. It used to be no longer the boys who lived that referred to as to Bernie in his desires, it was once the only guy he couldn’t carry domestic. Coast Guardsman Ralph Morris grew to appreciate Webber’s burden. in the course of the iciness of 1953, Morris have been transferred to the Race aspect Coast safeguard Station off the coast of Provincetown. There he heard extra stories concerning the mythical Bernie Webber. those tales gave the younger guy from Georgia much more satisfaction in donning the Coast safeguard uniform. actually, it used to be as a result of his uniform that Morris realized the chilly fact that triumph is usually coupled with tragedy. “I consider strolling into Puritan’s clothes shop in Hyannis someday and as i used to be strolling in, this woman and little boy come jogging out the door,” Morris says with a thick southern drawl. “The child stopped and regarded me up and down. i used to be donning my uniform on the time. He requested me if i used to be within the Coast safeguard. I advised him certain. Then he requested me if I knew Bernard Webber. I acknowledged no, yet I knew of him. The boy’s subsequent phrases approximately surprised me out of my sneakers. He acknowledged, ‘I hate that guy. ’ I requested why. The boy stated, ‘He killed my father. ’” The boy’s mom spoke up and stated her husband used to be at the Pendleton and that he used to be misplaced within the rescue. Ralph Morris used to be now face-to-face with the widow and son of George “Tiny” Myers. Morris had lots of event manning 36-foot lifeboats and was once greatly surprised by way of the child’s unfounded vitriol. He frivolously attempted to give an explanation for to the kid that his father’s dying used to be not anything greater than a sad twist of fate. “I attempted telling him that if the seas have been tough adequate to wreck up a boat, then it'd be virtually very unlikely to carry a ship regular in these stipulations. ” Morris used to be uncertain even if his rationalization was once sinking in or even if the child’s brain used to be already made up. As for Myers’s widow, Morris stated it was once most unlikely to gauge what her emotions have been. He stored the opportunity assembly to himself for a number of years, even after he had the chance to paintings for Bernie Webber whilst Webber took over the Race aspect Station in 1955. Their friendship persisted to blossom through the years until eventually Morris eventually felt cozy broaching the topic along with his mythical mentor. “After I acquired to grasp him a section, I advised Bernie approximately that dialog with George Myers’s son. Bernie instructed me what occurred. He used to be emotional, love it simply occurred the previous day. He stated the guy was once simply so titanic and he wasn’t donning a coat or existence vest and that it used to be very unlikely to come up with him and produce him aboard the lifeboat.

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