Opening night of The Finest Hours in Boston was a brilliant show for USCG, made all the more special by Fitzgerald’s presence. The 36 Foot Motor Lifeboat was a fantastic and worthy vessel. It is a true bridge between the oared surfboat of the USLSS and the modern motored USCG boats. It was the last of the open boat where the crew was exposed to the elements at their stations. The trip of the 36500 is still considered the greatest small boat rescue in USCG history. I was fortunate to find the 36501 boat in New Bedford and to be part of the team that brought it to Hull and installed it in their Pemberton Point station. It sits there on the original rails that gravity launched these fine vessels into service when the flag went up. Definitely recommend people checking out the story of these boats and the people who manned them. You will not be dissapointed.
CAPE COD TIMES
November 15, 2018
By Beth Treffeisen
CHATHAM — The last surviving member of the Coast Guard crew aboard the motor lifeboat 36500 during the historic 1952 rescue of 32 seamen off the stricken oil tanker Pendleton rescue has died.
Andrew Fitzgerald — known as a funny, brave and reluctant hero — was 86.
“It was a dark and stormy night,” Fitzgerald would say at the start of the story about the harrowing night of Feb. 18. 1952, which forever changed his life.
As a nor’easter raged off the shores of Cape Cod, two large tankers split in half, propelling the then 20-year-old Coast Guard engineer and three other Coast Guardsmen into history on their 36-foot boat.
Facing 60-foot high seas, the four men boarded the 36500, led by coxswain Bernard Webber, and headed out into the storm to find the sinking tanker Pendleton, where 33 men waited…
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