US Coast Guard Decommissions Storied Cutter in Alaska

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Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro Kodiak, Alaska
The Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro (WHEC 724) is moored at the cutter’s homeport of Kodiak, Alaska, April 24, 2021. The Douglas Munro was decommissioned during a ceremony following 49-years of service to our nation. (Matt Masaschi/U.S. Coast Guard)

JUNEAU, Alaska — The U.S. Coast Guard has decommissioned a ship whose home port was in Alaska after almost 50 years in service.

The cutter Douglas Munro was decommissioned in a ceremony in Kodiak on Saturday.

The ship was commissioned in 1971 and has served across the world. The Coast Guard said the Douglas Munro had been used for search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, counterpiracy efforts, disaster relief and oceanographic research support.

“During my time aboard I have witnessed the sacrifices of the crew as they spent time away from their loved ones in service to their country," said Capt. Riley Gatewood, commanding officer of the Douglas Munro.

The Douglas Munro had supported rescue operations for countries affected by a devastating 2004 tsunami in the Indo-Pacific region, the Juneau Empire reported.

The ship and its crew had also participated in the largest cold-water rescue mission in the Coast Guard's history, Gatewood said. The fishing ship Alaska Ranger had developed a leak and sank in the Bering Sea during storms and high seas in 2008.

The Douglas Munro, with help from other fishing vessels and helicopters in the area, rescued 42 of the Alaska Ranger's 47-person crew. Four crew members died while another was presumed dead after his remains were never found.

Gatewood and the rest of the ship's crew will accompany the cutter to Seattle. There, the ship will have its classified technology and weapons systems removed. It will also be repainted.

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