Saving lives is a family tradition

Conducting rescue operations at sea is a long family tradition for Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Stuart Bangs, a boatswain’s mate serving at Coast Guard Station Point Allerton in Hull, Massachusetts. His cousin, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Donald Bangs, took part in the legendary rescue of dozens of crewmembers from two sinking tankers, the Pendleton and Fort Mercer, that occurred off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts, during a blizzard in February of 1952. The rescue was the focus of a best-selling book and recently released motion picture, The Finest Hours.

From the Homefront: A behind-the-scenes look at the making of ‘The Finest Hours’

Often called the greatest small-boat rescue in American history, it is the story of the dramatic rescue of members of the crew of the SS Pendleton. A Coast Guardsman and three volunteers from Chatham Lifeboat Station, now known as Coast Guard Station Chatham, forged into the midst of a Nor’easter in a 36-foot lifeboat to bring the stranded crewmen home.