A Historic Photo Gallery:
The Rescue of the Survivors of the SS Pendleton and SS Fort Mercer
18-19 February 1952


Photograph (Click on image to see it full-size) Caption, Photograph Number, and any other information
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "Jacobs ladder dangling over her side, the stern of the SS PENDLETON sits forlornly on a sand bar off the coast of Cape Cod.  Coast Guardsmen from the Chatham Lifeboat Station overcame mountainous seas to rescue the survivors from this section of the vessel.  The survivors climbed down the Jacobs ladder and then dropped into the rescue boat."
Official USCG Photo; ELC 1CGD; photo by Richard C. Kelsey, Chatham, Mass.
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "Coast Guard photo of bow section of tanker PENDLETON grounded near Pollock Rib Liteship [sic] six miles off Chatham, Mass on the morning of Feb. 19, 1952."
Official USCG Photo; no photo number; photo by Richard C. Kelsey, Chatham, Mass.
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "The Rescue Boat CG36500 returned to the Chatham Fish Pier with 32 survivors of the tanker PENDLETON after the rescue at sea.  EN3 Andrew Fitzgerald was on the bow ready to handle the tie up at the pier.  The other three men were PENDLETON survivors."
Photo by Richard C. Kelsey, Chatham, Mass.
Photo appeared in and caption quoted in Bernard C. Webber, Chatham "The Lifeboatmen" (Orleans, MA: Lower Cape Publishing Co., 1985), p. 52.
Photo credit: Cape Cod Community College; used with permission.
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "Seaman Irving Maske (foreground) and BM1 Bernard Webber in the coxswain's flat [on] board the CG36500 following the dramatic rescue of 32 men off the stern of the PENDLETON on Feb. 18, 1952."
Photo by Richard C. Kelsey, Chatham, Mass.
Photo appeared in and caption quoted in Bernard C. Webber, Chatham "The Lifeboatmen" (Orleans, MA: Lower Cape Publishing Co., 1985), p. 53.
Photo credit: Cape Cod Community College; used with permission.
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "The lifeboat was secured to the pier and the survivors lined up along the side of the boat and climbed ashore for transportation to the Coast Guard station."
Photo by Richard C. Kelsey, Chatham, Mass.
Photo appeared in and caption quoted in Bernard C. Webber, Chatham "The Lifeboatmen" (Orleans, MA: Lower Cape Publishing Co., 1985), p. 54.
Photo credit: Cape Cod Community College; used with permission.
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. Two survivors of the PENDLETON are interviewed by Ed Semprini of WOCB radio in South Yarmouth for broadcast all over the country."
Photo by Richard C. Kelsey, Chatham, Mass.
Photo appeared in and caption quoted in Bernard C. Webber, Chatham "The Lifeboatmen" (Orleans, MA: Lower Cape Publishing Co., 1985), p. 55.
Photo credit: Cape Cod Community College; used with permission.
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "The Gold Medal crew relaxed at the station with coffee and doughnuts after a wild night at sea.  Left to right: BM1 Bernard Webber, EN3 Andrew Fitzgerald, SN Richard Livesey and SN Irving Maske."
Photo by Richard C. Kelsey, Chatham, Mass.
Photo appeared in and caption quoted in Bernard C. Webber, Chatham "The Lifeboatmen" (Orleans, MA: Lower Cape Publishing Co., 1985), p. 55.
Photo credit: Cape Cod Community College; used with permission.
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "Formal portrait of Boatswain's Mate First Class Bernard Webber in 1952."
Official USCG Photo; no photo number; photographer unknown.

Photo appeared in and caption quoted in Bernard C. Webber, Chatham "The Lifeboatmen" (Orleans, MA: Lower Cape Publishing Co., 1985), p. 72.

A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. No caption available.
Official USCG Photo; no photo number; photographer unknown.

[The cutter Eastwind cruises around the still floating stern section of the SS Fort Mercer.]

A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "Despite extremely heavy seas, the Coast Guard Cutter YAKUTAT puts over a motor self-bailing surfboat to remove two ill survivors from the bow of the S.S. FORT MERCER."

Official USCG Photo; ELC-1CGD; photographer unknown.

A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "USCGC YAKUTAT'S MOTOR SURFBOAT RESCUES SURVIVORS FROM BOW OF SS FORT MERCER: Coast Guard rescuers in a motor surfboat carry blanket-wrapped master of tanker SS FORT MERCER, Captain Frederick C. Paetzal (far side), and purser, Edward Turner, Jr., to safety of the Coast Guard Cutter YAKUTAT.  The two survivors were plucked from the water after they jumped from the tanker's bow section.  Captain Paetzel suffered from pneumonia and frost bitten hands and feet."
Official USCG Photo No. 5840; 2-18-52(2); Photographer unknown.
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "Crewmen of the U.S. Coast Guard YAKUTAT draw in a rubber liferaft with the last two survivors from the bow section of the broken tanker SS FORT MERCER.  Twenty minutes later the broken hulk heaved into the air and turned keel upward to sink into the sea.  Four of nine men stranded on the bow section were rescued by the YAKUTAT.  The others disappeared in the sea -- four while jumping during a rescue attempt under the canopy of evening darkness (February 18, 1952) when a line holding three liferafts parted, and one while transferring from the after end of the hulk to the forward section during the night when rescue attempts were abandoned until daylight."
Official USCG Photo, 2-18-52(3); Photographer unknown.
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "Two Coast Guard men dressed in protective rubber suits tie lines to survivors from bow section of SS FORT MERCER so they can be pulled from the rubber liferaft aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter YAKUTAT.  The SS FORT MERCER, an American tanker of 504 ft. length, 10,266 tons, bound from Norso, Louisiana for Portland, Maine, broke in two in a heavy snow squall 30 miles East of Chatham, Mass., on February 18, 1952.  In the afternoon of the same day, only a few hours later from the FT. MERCER disaster, the American tanker SS PENDLETON, 504 ft. length, 10,448 tons, was sighted on radar at the Coast Guard's Chatham Lifeboat Station separating into two sections.  Both sections were spotted aboard Pollock Rip Lightships floating toward North Beach."
Official USCG Photo, 02-18-52(1) G.F.; photographer unknown.
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. No caption available.
Official USCG Photo; no photo number; photographer unknown.

[Another view of the rescue of crewmen from the Fort Mercer's stern section.]

A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "Boston, Mass. February 21, 1952: Three survivors from the ill fated tanker FORT MERCER are shown aboard the Coast Guard Cutter EASTWIND.  They are from left to right Charles W. Hindsley. . .Gilbert J. Murphy. . .Ramon S. Rodriguez."

Official USCG Photo; no photo number; photographer unknown.

A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "Broken tanker PENDLETON aground off Chatham bar, Mass., after breaking in half during a severe northeaster on the night of Feb 18, 1952."

First Coast Guard Dist. Photo; 30 Feb 1952; photographer unknown.

A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "A general view of the ceremony in the Treasury Building, Washington, DC, May 14 [1952] at which 21 U.S. Coast Guardsmen were decorated for their participation in the rescue of 70 men from the tankers FORT MERCER and PENDLETON, which broke in two during a violent storm off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., February 18, 1952.  Five of the men received the Treasury Department Gold Lifesaving Medal for 'extreme and heroic daring;' four received the Silver Lifesaving Medal for 'heroic action;' and 15 were cited for 'courage, initiative and unswerving devotion to duty,' and authorized to wear the Coast Guard Commendation Ribbon.  Three others who were awarded the latter decoration were unable to be present.  The presentations were made by Under Secretary of the Treasury Edward H. Foley and Vice Admiral Merlin O'Neill, Coast Guard Commandant."
Official USCG Photo; File Date: May 14, 1952; no official number; photographer unknown.
A photo of the Pendleton and Fort Mercer rescue, 1952. "LCDR Ellis D. Perry visited the PENDLETON soon after the wreck to determine the cause of the fractures that made the ship break up.  While his investigation was going on the crew of the CG36500 had to do 'at-sea' repairs on the clutch of the boat and LCDR Perry had to sit, perched on the stern of the PENDLETON, until the repairs had been completed."
Official USCG Photo; no photo number; photographer unknown.  Photo appeared in and caption quoted in Bernard C. Webber, Chatham "The Lifeboatmen" (Orleans, MA: Lower Cape Publishing Co., 1985), p. 113.

 

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Last Modified 1/26/2012