NAV EX 2nd Qtr. 2017 NavEx 2nd Qtr 2017 - Page 2

Why do people serve? What motivates someone to join the U.S. Coast Guard and its Auxiliary? These are simple questions with any number of complex answers that often defy explanation. Your Fine Bringing The L Story by H W. Smith Occasionally there are concrete examples of what happens when the abstract desire to serve becomes heroically real. It is in those stories that the bedrock Coast Guard values of, “Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty,” shine brightest. It is in the legendary actions of Coast Guard heroes that answers to the question of service before self can be found, particularly when times get tough. One legendary example of that rock-solid foundation can be found in what is regarded as the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history. The rescue of crewmembers of the twin World War II era Type T2- SE-A1 tankers, the SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton has been detailed in the book The Finest Hours by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman. That book created the framework of last year’s Disney Studios film by the same name. This series of articles will examine those values through the lens of this particular event in Coast Guard history using the premise that its example, like much of the Coast Guard’s history, can offer a guide to the motivations of Coast Guard active duty and Auxiliary members alike. 27 A Legendary Story Made Real What transpired that frigid night off the Cape Cod coast was at the core of the film and faithfully retold on the screen in vivid detail. The focus of the film was placed on the actions of the four crewmembers of the motor lifeboat CG36500 and the 32 sailors they saved. For those connected with the Coast Guard and its Auxiliary there are larger questions to be considered. The question of why Coxswain Bernard C. Webber, Engineman Second Class Andrew Fitzgerald, Seaman Richard Levesey and Seaman Ervin Maske were willing to face nearly insurmountable odds is one that connects with the Coast Guard’s core values in real and tangible ways. 2 USCG Photo On February 18, 1952 during a full-scale ‘Nor’easter’ gale with snow an surviving crew members were rescued, with only one being lost at sea In 1952 the unofficial motto of the Coast Guard still was “You have to go out but you don’t have to come back”. The Regulations of the Life-Saving Service of 1899, Article VI “Action at Wrecks,” section 252, page 58, stated: “In attempting a rescue the keeper will NAVIGATO