Douglas Albert Munro

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Douglas Albert Munro
Munro.jpg    A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.
Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro, MoH, USCG
Born(1919-10-11)October 11, 1919
Vancouver, Canada
DiedSeptember 27, 1942(1942-09-27) (aged 22)
Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Place of burialLaurel Hill Memorial Park Cle Elum, Washington
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Coast Guard
Years of service1939–1942
RankSignalman First Class
Battles/warsWorld War II

 • Second Battle of the Matanikau
AwardsMedal of Honor
Purple Heart
 
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Douglas Albert Munro
Munro.jpg    A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.
Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro, MoH, USCG
Born(1919-10-11)October 11, 1919
Vancouver, Canada
DiedSeptember 27, 1942(1942-09-27) (aged 22)
Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Place of burialLaurel Hill Memorial Park Cle Elum, Washington
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Coast Guard
Years of service1939–1942
RankSignalman First Class
Battles/warsWorld War II

 • Second Battle of the Matanikau
AwardsMedal of Honor
Purple Heart

Douglas Albert Munro (October 11, 1919 – September 27, 1942) is the only member of the United States Coast Guard to have received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military's highest decoration. Munro received the award posthumously for his actions as officer-in-charge of a group of landing craft on September 27, 1942, during the September Matanikau action in the Guadalcanal campaign of World War II.

Contents

Biography

Munro was born on October 11, 1919, in Vancouver, Canada, to James Munro, originally from California, and Edith Thrower Fairey from Liverpool, England. The family moved to Vancouver, Washington, where his father worked as an electrician for Warren Construction Company. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1922 along with his sister and mother and grew up in South Cle Elum, Washington. He was educated at South Cle Elum Grade School and graduated from Cle Elum High School in 1937. He attended Central Washington College of Education (now known as Central Washington University) for a year before leaving to enlist in the United States Coast Guard in 1939. He had an outstanding record as an enlisted man and was promoted rapidly through the ratings to a signalman, first class.[1]

In the Second Battle of the Matanikau, part of the Guadalcanal Campaign, Munro was in charge of a detachment of ten boats which landed U.S. Marines at the scene. After successfully taking them ashore, he returned his boats to their previously assigned position and almost immediately learned that conditions ashore were different than had been anticipated and that it was necessary to evacuate the Marines immediately. Munro volunteered for the job and brought the boats to shore under heavy enemy fire, then proceeded to evacuate the men on the beach. When most of them were in the boats, complications arose in evacuating the last men, whom Munro realized would be in the greatest danger. He accordingly placed himself and his boats such that they would serve as cover for the last men to leave. It was thus that he was fatally wounded—protecting the men after he had evacuated them. He remained conscious sufficiently long only to say four words: "Did they get off?".[1]

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Munro was also posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and was eligible for the American Defense Service Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.[1]

Aged 22 at his death, Munro is buried at Laurel Hill Memorial Park in Cle Elum, Washington.[2]

Honors and awards

Medal of Honor

Munro's Medal of Honor is on display at the United States Coast Guard Training Center Cape May in Cape May, New Jersey. He received the Navy version of the Medal of Honor because, at the time, the Coast Guard was operating under the Department of the Navy and no separate Coast Guard version of the medal existed. A Medal of Honor version for Coast Guard personnel has since been approved, but has never been designed or minted.

Munro's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of a group of Higgins boats, engaged in the evacuation of a Battalion of Marines trapped by enemy Japanese forces at Point Cruz, Guadalcanal, on September 27, 1942. After making preliminary plans for the evacuation of nearly 500 beleaguered Marines, Munro, under constant risk of his life, daringly led five of his small craft toward the shore. As he closed the beach, he signaled the others to land, and then in order to draw the enemy's fire and protect the heavily loaded boats, he valiantly placed his craft with its two small guns as a shield between the beachhead and the Japanese. When the perilous task of evacuation was nearly completed, Munro was killed by enemy fire, but his crew, two of whom were wounded, carried on until the last boat had loaded and cleared the beach. By his outstanding leadership, expert planning, and dauntless devotion to duty, he and his courageous comrades undoubtedly saved the lives of many who otherwise would have perished. He gallantly gave up his life in defense of his country.

Military decorations

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Munro also received the Purple Heart, American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars 
Medal of HonorPurple Heart
American Defense Service MedalAsiatic-Pacific Campaign MedalWorld War II Victory Medal

Other honors

Two ships, the Coast Guard's USCGC Munro (WHEC-724) and the Navy's USS Douglas A. Munro (DE-422), a barracks building located at USCG Training Center Cape May (Munro Hall), and an administrative and guest quarters building at the US Coast Guard Academy,[3] were named in his honor.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "SM1c Douglas A. Munro, USCG". United States Coast Guard. October 9, 2009. http://www.uscg.mil/history/people/MunroDouglasIndex.asp. Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Douglas Albert Munro". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6770. Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Munro Hall at U.S. Coast Guard Academy". http://www.cga.edu/display.aspx?id=381. Retrieved October 5, 2010. 

External links