Signalman 1st Class Douglas Albert Munro, the only CG awarded the Medal of Honor

Friday, September 29, 2017

 Article written by Douglas J. Manifold, AUXPA1

Douglas Albert Munro – Guadalcanal

 Saving Lives

Seventy-five years ago, September 27, 1942, Coast Guard Signalman Douglas Munro died at Guadalcanal. Munro enlisted in the Coast Guard because, “The Coast Guard is focused on saving lives, not taking them.”


Douglas Albert Munro

Following basic training, Doug was assigned to the CG-manned Hunter Liggett which carried Higgins boats originally developed by Andrew Higgins as workboats and for rescues in the Louisiana swamps. Seeing these boats, Doug was hooked.

Transport Hunter Liggett (APA-14)

On the Hunter-Liggett, Doug, and his buddy Ray Evans, took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942, delivering Marines to the beaches. On September 18th, fresh Marines arrived, led by Lt Col. “Chesty” Puller, a living legend in the Marines.

On September 23rd, Puller was assigned to lead offensive operations. Puller’s man moved out, making contact with the Japanese the next afternoon and requesting reinforcements.

Orders were issued for reinforcements to proceed by boat to attack the Japanese from the rear. With Doug in charge, and with Ray in a separate boat, Marines were loaded, delivered and the boats headed home. At the landing site, the Japanese allowed the Marines through ambush lines before attacking. Dexter received word of their plight and sent Doug and Ray back to pick up the troops fighting their way to the beach.

As Doug maneuvered his boat parallel to the beach, providing protection for the Marines, Ray returned fire. Saving nearly five hundred Marines in their twenty-five boats, they headed back to base when Ray saw waterspouts headed towards Doug. Ray yelled to warn Doug who did not hear him, and Doug was hit.

At the dock, Doug looked up asking, “Did they get off?” With that, Munro was gone. But, in his heroic actions, Doug helped save nearly 500 Marines.

In recognition of his sacrifice, Munro was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, which Dexter conjectured was recommendation by Puller.

Douglas Munro joined the Coast Guard to save lives, and at Guadalcanal he, Ray and their crews did that.











  1. M. Edwarrd Chale says:

    Doug, this is excellent!Tells an important story succinctly and with a bit of passion.
    Nice job!
    Ed Chale

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