Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

As we are Bar-B-Qing our hot dogs, let's take a minute to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep our nation free.
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.
He volunteered and successfully led five Higgins boats from the seaplane tender BALLARD to evacuate a detachment of Marines from a point where enemy opposition developed beyond anticipated dimensions. Munro's last words were 'Did they get off?'
The citation for the Medal of Honor, was presented in May 1943 by President Roosevelt at the White House. Accepting the award were his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Munro of Cle Elum, Washington.
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 signalled 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."
Douglas Munro's Medal of Honor is on display at the United States Coast Guard Training Center Cape May in Cape May, New Jersey.
In addition to the Medal of Honor Munro also received the Purple Heart, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, American Defense Service Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Two ships, the Coast Guard's USCGC Munro (WHEC-724) and the Navy's USS Douglas A. Munro (DE-422), as well as a barracks building located at USCG Training Center Cape May (Munro Hall), were named in his honor.
Let us reflect for a moment on the sacrifices of the thousands of men and women who have given their tomorrows for our todays, especially the the men and women of the United States Coast Guard, who are ALWAYS READY (Semper Paratus) to save a life!

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