CAPE MAY, N.J. – Coast Guardsmen and recruits gathered to remember the sacrifice of the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient aboard Training Center Cape May Sept. 27..
The crew of Training Center Cape May gathered at a statue erected in Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro’s honor to mark the 70th anniversary of the Coast Guardsman’s death during World War II. Munro was killed at Point Cruz, Guadalcanal, rescuing 500 beleaguered Marines under heavy enemy fire Sept. 27, 1942.
Munro led a group of five Higgins boats ashore to evacuate the Marines, which also came under heavy enemy fire. Munro used his Higgins boat as a shield by placing the vessel between the enemy and the other rescue boats, which were heavily loaded with Marines. Munro’s actions drew enemy fire away from the Marines, but Munro was shot and killed during the rescue attempt.
Munro uttered his last dying words to a wounded shipmate aboard the bullet riddled Higgins boat, “did they get off?”
“Munro’s last words demonstrate our commitment to our missions and our shipmates,” said Capt. Billy Kelly, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May. “No matter the place or the mission, our graduates will continue to carry out Munro’s legacy of selfless and courageous service by protecting, saving, defending and shielding those in harm or those in need."
Kelly called the crew to attention and read Munro’s Medal of Honor citation. A wreath was placed at the foot of the Munro Statue in remembrance of his sacrifice 70 years ago. The ceremony concluded with a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps.”