Canadian war hero honoured yet again

Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Bart Armstrong | ~

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) have commissioned a second ship in honour of Vancouver-born, Second World War hero Douglas Munro.

The USCG Cutter Munro (WMDL 755) was commissioned March 31.

As a member of the American Medal of Honor Society I was privileged and honoured to travel to Seattle to meet with the new captain and crew. At the ceremony I give a short presentation and then attended the actual commissioning ceremony the following day.

The USCG also posthumously dedicated their headquarters building in Washington, D.C. to Munro in November 2013.

Why all the fuss for Munro?
Munro was born Oct. 11, 1919, in Vancouver. The family moved to Kittitas County, Washington in 1922, where his father, a U.S.-born citizen, worked as an electrician for the Warren Company. After attending Central Washington College, Munro enlisted in the USCG in 1939 and rose rapidly through the ranks.  

In 1942 Signalman First Class Douglas Munro volunteered to lead a small crew and flotilla of Higgins landing craft to Gaudalcanal to land 500 U.S. Marines. However, the enemy were able to drive the marines into the ocean.

Munro and his crew returned to save them. But in placing his craft between heavy machine gun fire and the last vessel, Munro was killed. Eight months later, on Sept. 27, 1942, President Roosevelt presented the posthumous Medal of Honor to his parents.

To recognize Monroe’s heroism, the U.S. Navy commissioned a Destroyer Escort and named it the USS Douglas A Munro. It served throughout the Second World War and earned three Battle Stars for heroism in Korea, and was decommissioned in 1966.

Five years later to the day Douglas lost his life, the USCG commissioned a Cutter and named it in honour of the hero of Guadalcanal. It was, and still to this day, is called the USCGC Douglas Munro, and since 2007 has called Kodiak, Alaska, its home port.

I was delighted to be part of this latest commissioning. I presented a Canadian flag that was flown over Government House in Victoria on behalf of Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

A few days after the commissioning the cutter took its maiden voyage some 800 miles south, sailed under the Golden Gate bridge, and arrived at Alameda, California, its new home port.

From here the crew will start the next chapter of the historic story of Douglas Munro and the U.S. Coast Guard.

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