Now and Then

An essay about my year back at CGA Forty-five years after graduating in the Class of 1977, I returned to New London in August 2022 to teach for a year. During our class’s monthly virtual meeting, my classmates were curious if anything on campus had changed. The best I could say was, ‘everything is the […]

Bernard “Bernie” Webber and the greatest smallboat rescue in Coast Guard history

To this day, Webber’s crew is referred to as the “Gold Medal Crew” involved in the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history.

The Long Blue Line: The loss of Morning Dew and genesis of Rescue 21

This article recounts the 1997 Morning Dew sailing vessel tragedy in Charleston Harbor, highlighting U.S. Coast Guard communication failures. It discusses the subsequent overhaul with the Rescue 21 system, addressing technological and procedural shortcomings.

VIDEO – 1952 Pendleton Rescue: Timeless Leadership Lessons for The Long Blue Line

Watch my Zoom webinar about the Pendleton rescue and the lessons we can learn about leadership

Mariner, Leader, Friend Jack Downey Crosses The Bar

Having come to the aid of more than 700 mariners in his 41-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard, Jack Downey is being remembered locally as the one who rescued an entire Coast Guard station when it was foundering.

New book explores mystery and legacy of the 2009 Patriot sinking

Courtesy of the Gloucester Daily Times A newly released book, “The Tragic Sinking of Gloucester’s Patriot” by maritime historian and retired U.S. Coast Guard Capt. W. Russell Webster, sheds light on the mysterious and sudden sinking of the fishing vessel about 15 miles east of Gloucester just after 1 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009. […]

Getting The Chatham Bar Rescue Equation Right

The town of Chatham and the Coast Guard have been at odds since the Coast Guard downgraded Station Chatham’s surf station designation and discontinued using two 42-foot nearshore surf boats on Jan. 5. Why the change? The Coast Guard’s own data revealed that surf conditions didn’t meet the criteria for Station Chatham to remain specially-designated […]

VIDEO – Interview about The Patriot Sinking on The Writer’s Block with John Ronan: Episode 398

I was thrilled to be asked to appear on The Writer’s Block with John Ronan to discuss my upcoming book “The Tragic Sinking of Gloucester’s Patriot” (coming May 2022). You can watch my interview below, premiering February 3, 2022. John Ronan is the producer and host of The Writer’s Block with John Ronan, a television […]

On the Front Lines of the Pandemic

How four alumni are driving FEMA’s COVID-19 recovery for New England and creating a blueprint for the rest of the nation

PODCAST – Guest appearance with Molly McPherson discussing the JFK Jr Plane Crash

Captain W. Russell Webster appears on Confident Communication with Molly McPherson where he discusses the behind the scenes of the JFK Jr Plane crash off Martha’s Vineyard. Click the image below to listen to the podcast. Captain W. Russell Website is introduced at 13 minutes 50 seconds.

Capt. W. Russell Webster speaks about the Morning Dew Tragedy on Nautical Talk Radio

Captain W. Russell Webster appeared on “Nautical Talk Radio” with Captain Lou on December 9th. He discussed the “Morning Dew” tragedy, which is the subject of his next book, “Lost in Charleston’s Waves”. Listen to the complete interview below.

New Book Launch

This story is the preamble to next month’s launch of the book. Thanks to all of you for your unwavering support. Read it here

Featured in the Charleston Post & Courier

The fatal Charleston sailboat accident that changed Coast Guard search and rescue The teen’s voice came over the radio at 2:17 a.m., a cry for help on a dark, moonless night. “May … Mayday,” a desperate plea shouted over the crackling static. “U.S. Coast Guard, come in.” The Morning Dew sailboat had crashed into one […]

Maine Voices: New technology brings families of lost mariners closer to closure

For the families involved in sea tragedies, emotional closure is often facilitated by something tangible, such as the recovery of a beloved’s body. For many, though, the sea does not give up the bodies of loved ones for their families and friends to mourn in ceremonies.

AUDIO – Interview on Nautical Talk with Captain Lou

Listen to an interview with Capt W. Russell Webster on the Nautical Talk podcast.

VIDEO – 64th Anniversary of Coast Guard Rescue That Inspired ‘The Finest Hours’

Watch an NECN interview with Capt W. Russell Webster and other Coastguardsmen on the 64th anniversary of the Pendleton disaster.

Reuniting Lost Mariners with Loved Ones

It’s rare that historians uncover something of true and unique value to the modern day persons they write about.  But, recently, thanks to Mrs. Ellen (Hokanson) Ouellette, ex-wife and mother of lost fishermen, Hokey Hokanson and Billy Hokanson, I am able to share some of the details of a Department of Justice program, NAMUS, that […]

AUDIO – NPR Interview about The Sol e Mar Tragedy off Martha’s Vineyard

Retired US Coast Guard Captain W. Russell Webster talks about the book The Sol e Mar: Tragedy off Martha’s Vineyard which he co-wrote with his wife Elizabeth B. Webster.

Coast Guard Dogs Fight Terrorism

Specially trained canine units patrolling busy U.S. ports are some of the Coast Guard’s newest weapons in the 21st-century war on terrorism. Each year, U.S. ports host thousands of foreign-flag ships carrying multinational crews and cargoes from around the globe. Former Coast Guard Commandant Admiral James Loy noted that the 11 September 2001 attacks could have occurred at maritime facilities.

Coast Guard Tape of Harrowing 1980 Rescue off Massachusetts Resurfaces

Even a quarter century later, Anthony Militello, 50, skipper of the ill-fated fishing vessel Hattie Rose, can still feel the numbing cold of 32-degree water. “Some of the most vivid memories [of the rescue] are like snapshots in a photo album,” he says.

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