Friday, September 07, 2007

CGC Munro Arrives at New Homeport

After being polished for service in Alameda, Calif., dry-docked all summer, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Munro (WHEC-724) is finally in Kodiak, Alaska, and ready for service. The Munro arrived in Kodiak on September 4 with its 150-member enlisted crew and 20 officers. The Munro replaces the well-known cutter Storis, now sitting in Suisan Bay near San Francisco where it has been since decommissioning in March.
Munro’s missions are primarily search and rescue, fisheries patrols and law enforcement. The Munro’s schedule is generally 90 days in and 90 days out, but due to seasonal weather conditions in Alaska waters, trips are more likely to average 60 to 90 days.

The Munro is a high-endurance cutter, 378 feet in length. The dedication of the ship took place April 15, 1972, at its first homeport of Boston, Mass. In 1973, the Munro moved to Seattle, Wash., with residents especially fond of the ship because it is named after Douglas Munro, who grew up in Cle Elum, a small town in Washington state. The Munro was the first of 10 378-foot cutters to be named after a Coast Guard hero. The others had been named after former secretaries of the Treasury, a tradition that began in 1830 when a cutter was named after Alexander Hamilton.

Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro received the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism at Guadalcanal, where the Coast Guard’s first major participation in the Pacific war during World War II occurred.

As the war went on, from 1941 o 1945, the Coast Guard manned more than 350 ships and hundreds more amphibious-type assault craft. It was in these ships that the Coast Guard fulfilled duties of getting the men to the beaches. The initial landings were made on Guadalcanal in August 1942, to counter Japanese landings in the Solomon Islands, east of New Guinea, after hard-fought campaigns in the Coral Sea and Midway.

Munro had been transporting Marines all day near Point Cruz when he noticed a group of Marines grounded on the beach. Munro freed the grounded crew but ran into Japanese machine-gun fire.

He took a single bullet in the head and died before reaching the operating base. He had saved many lives while losing his own.