NAV EX 3rd QTR. 2017 NavEx 3rd Qtr 2017 - FINAL Draft - Page 17

AF Well what happened on this was Bernie Webber got called back to our station one time, and an admiral or a captain called him. And (the person on the phone) said: Bernie, you did a great job on this rescue, and we’re going to give you the highest award we can give you. We’re going to give you the Coast Guard Gold Lifesaving Medal. So Bernie Webber says: Well, what about my crew? They were in as much danger as I was, and we were four guys who were in that boat. And they said well, we’ll give them the silver lifesaving medal. And Bernie Webber says: I don’t want the gold then. They were in as much danger as I was. If they don’t (get) the gold I won’t take the gold. The captain says. Oh, all right, we will give them all the gold lifesaving medal. So I got a gold lifesaving medal. And all the other guys did too. They’re all dead now so I am really the only one left from that. I was nineteen. No, I was twenty years old the others are all twenty one, twenty two, twenty three, something like that. I think Bernie was, I thought Bernie was 23, but later I read he might have been 29, but I am not sure. You know. It was a night to remember. It was great. This brings to an end Fitzgerald’s interview. Masthead EDITORIAL STAFF Bret Fendt Editor Roger Bazeley Assistant Editor H William Smith Assistant Editor Zacary E. Wilson Assistant Editor Curtis Pratt Layout Editor Review Team Brian Harte Mary Patton CONTRIBUTORS Epilog The film, released in January 2016, was highly anticipated in Coast Guard and Auxiliary circles. A number of connections were made to the events that took place on that stormy night in 1952 and the present as the story was translated on to the silver screen. The film, like most historical films, was made more theatrical by additions to the script that deviated from the actual events. But, most of the plot embellishments involved elements of the story that took place on shore. The details of the rescue itself, as portrayed in the film, conform closely to the accounts of the event that are now a part of Coast Guard history. So, why did Fitzgerald and his shipmates continue on to the Pendleton when they would have been certainly within their rights to return to Chatham Station with an already damaged motor lifeboat? And, why did they take on the added risk of putting all 32 Pendleton crewmen on a boat that was designed to carry half that many? While those, and other, questions are not easily answered, some inkling of what drove four young Coasties to go above and beyond the call of duty can be found in Fitzgerald’s story. The leadership of Bernie Webber, and Fitzgerald’s trust in that leadership, is evident throughout the interview and the supporting materials considered for this series. Webber’s leadership on the night of the rescue and in making sure that each of his shipmates was honored with the Gold Lifesaving Medal offers a great example of adherence to core Coast Guard values. The pure excitement of being a part of something important, despite the risks involved, is evident in Fitzgerald’s account of how he and the rest of the OR express Navigator Express Continued on Page 18 Sankey Blanton District Five Southern Robert A. Fabich Sr. District Seven Ralph Fairbanks District Nine Western Joseph Giannattasio District Five Northern Michael Heid District Eight Eastern Region Patrick Hickey District Eight Western Rivers Doug Kroll District Thirteen Darin D. Lenz District Eleven Northern Lauren Steenson NATIONAL STAFF Richard F. Mihalcik Director of Public Affairs Thea Narkiewicz Deputy Director, Publications Thomas Ceniglio Deputy Director, Support Robert Miller, M.D. Division Chief, Publications © Copyright 2017 Coast Guard Auxiliary Association, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 17 8