MOST PEOPLE WILL NEVER SEE A BAD DAY AS ROUGH AS THIS ONE:
Updated 2/4/2016 W/BM1 Bernie Webber Bio link
Update 8/18/2016 Now available in DVD, Blue Ray, Movies on Demand etc.
Disney's new movie FINEST HOURS is highly likely to eclipse THE GUARDIAN as the best Coast Guard movie ever made. While we felt the Guardian gave an accurate depiction of at least the aviation search and rescue culture of the modern U.S. Coast Guard, it was fiction loosely based on fact. FINEST HOURS is a true story apparently faithfully told from an earlier era of the U.S. Coast Guard than the more recent years depicted in the Guardian. Set in the mid 1950s it was still the era of bell bottoms, the cracker jack dress blues, difficult to use AM marine radios, no satellite navigation systems, and far less post casualty hand wringing and second guessing. It was, in the U.S. Merchant Marine still within the service life of WWII era T-2 tankers, though these were aging rapidly. In the true story behind FINEST HOURS set in the dead of winter off the coast of New England we are given a very realistic look into an era that ended by 1970, the days before mustang suits, and personal emergency radio locators. This was the last era where we so frequently heard the old Coast Guard unofficial motto: "The book says you have to go out, It doesn't say you have to come back."
Today the missions are no easier but the equipment is much better.
A number of us here at the AAB are products of the latter part of the era (1965-1970) and remember it well and the technological and operational doctrine revolution in SAR (search and rescue) that followed. FINEST HOURS is a story of the recent past when the Coast Guard's "soldiers of the storm" did the best they could with what they had. They have better equipment today, but still suffer fatalities annually. The sea has no limits as to what it can throw at you. The special effects in FINEST HOURS rival and in some cases exceed those in the GUARDIAN or THE PERFECT STORM. The story is shown from both the view point of the rescuers and the merchant seamen in need of rescue, some of us here have been in both situations over the space of our long in the tooth maritime careers. Fortunately, few of us have been in the position of the Chief Boatswain's mate in the film whose future wife invades the operations center and demands that the SAR Incident Controller ( a warrant boatswain) bring the crew back, then accuses him of "sending them out to die". This is one of the reasons why we never talked much about work with our wives, and why such spaces are locked to non watch standers today. This is a visual and audio roller coaster of a film. It will be in theaters January 28, 2015. Buckle up and go, strap in and watch. Be prepared to hold your breath and experience the emotion, if not the moisture of a cold dunking. Water torture? This film will give you a whole new understanding of the concept.
Watch the trailers linked to below. If you tend to agree with our assessment re-tweet our tweets, forward the trailer links, encourage your friends to see it. This film finally does for Coast Guard SAR boat crews what BACK DRAFT did for firemen.
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Finest Hours Trailer 1
Finest Hours Trailer 2
Finest Hours, THE LONG TRAILER
USCG HISTORIAN' S OFFICE BM1 BERNIE WEBSTER BIOGRAPHY PAGE