Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Douglas Albert Munro
Douglas Albert Munro (11 October 1919 – 27 September 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 brave actions in command of a landing craft in 1942 at the World War II battle of Guadalcanal.
Munro was born in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The citation for the Medal of Honor, which was presented to Douglas Munro's parents, reads as follows:
DOUGLAS ALBERT MUNRO, SIGNALMAN FIRST CLASS, U.S. COAST GUARD
For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty as Office-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.
Since Munro was operating under the authority of the Navy, he received the Navy Medal of Honor. A Coast Guard Medal of Honor exists, but only conjecturally and has never been issued. 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) were named in his honor.
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