Recruits in both the US Marines and the USCG learn during their basic training about Douglas' heroism some 75 years ago. It was on an island so far away and called Guadalcanal that he and others rescued the marines who had been driven off the island and into the ocean.
And it would be here that Douglas Munro would yet again show his bravery, but this time at the cost of his life. And from these actions he would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
In the earlier blogs I noted that the Navy named a destroyer escort after Douglas and the Coast Guard followed with a high endurance cutter named in his honour and stationed to this day at Kodiac Alaska.
About three years ago it was announced that the 6th of a series of newer... bigger and faster and much more powerful LEGEND CLASS cutters would be built and named in honour of First Class Signalman Douglas Munro.
You can watch an 11 minute video about this latest class of cutters at www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUs1GeBty6E
The new Munro cutter's hull was laid down in mid 2013, and by Dec 2015 she was launched along the east coast of the US. On 15 Nov 2015 USCGC Munro (WMSL 755) was christened by his great grand niece Julie Sheehan. Watch this video... www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmTS5TXqv7g
Like purchasing a car and doing the usual tire kicking, the cutter was put though her own sea trials last August.
Soon the cutter would start her less than boring (see last 2 blogs) sailing some 8,000 miles, down through the Gulf of Mexico, through the Panama Canal and northbound to Seattle for some final checking of nuts and bolts I guess, and then the most formal Commissioning on 1 April.
Here is yet another video showing the Cutter's arrival at Seattle. www.dvidshub.net/video/516454/coast-guard-cutter-munro-arrives-seattle
It was probably also on Friday at some point that the Captain and crew presented these plaques....
On Saturday an early morning allowed all to meet and greet many dignitaries, senior Coast Guard officers, actual crew members, descendants and others. At one point I was talking to an officer who it turns out is the CG's national chaplain. Even more interesting, he was one of the handful that came out in Washington DC for the unveiling of the new marker for Joseph Noil a few months back and of which you have read much in this space.
In a chat with him and the top officer in the CG, the Commandant, Admiral Zukunft I expressed my thanks on learning of all the work the CG does in DC to help clean up and make repairs etc, and even place flags and do remembrance services for the veterans buried at St Elizabeth's were Noil lies at rest. More particularly, the Guard's help in conducting the new marker unveiling ceremony for him a few months back was recognized. A ceremony that corrected Noil's burial under the wrong name for about 134 years.
It was also very rewarding to meet with and briefly discussed my work with Vice Admiral Midgette, Commander of the Pacfic Area and Defense Force West as well as Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan who chairs a committee that overseas the work of the CG and other entities, all part of the new Homeland Security Department. The Senator said he would have one of his staff make connections with me.
Note I am wearing a gold star. This was the "ticket" into the reception. I am also wearing the Canadian Forces Decoration medal and the Sovereign Medal for Volunteers, on left as you look at the image above.
I also had a brief chat with Gary Williams, as I believe I mentioned in last blog. Gary wrote the book that came out about a year ago about Douglas, and called... the Guardian of Guadalcanal. He has promised an autographed copy will be coming my way soon.
The band then played the US National Anthem, and the Sea Service Ceremonial Honor Guard smartly marched in the Colours. Then followed Captain Gregory Todd from DC as above mentioned with the Invocation and then we heard from the President of Ingalls who briefed us on the Legend Class new cutters and the story of the Cutter Munro's life of just 3 short years so far.
Next came a few words from retired Captain Miller, who is the serving President of the Navy League's Seattle Council and proud host of this very event. Vice Admiral Midgette, Commander of the Pacific Area and Defense Force West then spoke. These were followed by remarks from the Coast Guard's Commandant and the Senator from Alaska.
The theme from most was the incredible heroism of Doug Munro, the legacy he has given for the guard to carry on at the highest level despite obstacles that would challenge most on a daily basis, and to keep the enviable record of coast guard service, now over 225 years long, for the next 225 and more.
After brief remarks from Captain Thomas, he went about setting the first duty watch on the cutter. For this he requested the assistance of Ms. Eliza Sheehan who would present the symbolic Long Glass, (telescope) to the first ever Officer of the Watch.
At center stage we see the Long Glass being presented to the officer who must soon send her first watch of guardsman to their duties. Following this, her cousin Julie, who is the official sponsor of the cutter, and to whom the christening fell last year, would "Bring the Cutter to Life" by so stating it has now been commissioned.
The Commander of Pacific Area would then order the ship's crew to report for duties at which all crew made a sharp left turn and exit the reception area at the double quick time, double out to the cutter's ramps, and up they went to their to their duty stations.
While all of this was going on the ship also hoisted it's colours. The men and women taking the stations and the rising colours were very emotional moments for most in the room.
If you click on this link, you can watch this actually happening... foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/national-security-cutter-munro-is-americas-real-border-1794003759
A few days later the Munro sailed out of the Seattle harbour and traveled south about 800 miles to her first home port at Alameda California. Once the home port of her sister.. the Douglas Munro of Kodiac.
That's more than enough for today. Please feel free to offer your comments, and join me again next Sunday and a story of another Canadian hero lost to most historians north of the 49th parallel. And this one will be of most interest to the ladies in the audience.