Coast Guard Cutter Munro celebrates 40 years of service

SM1 DOuglas Munro display on board cutter Munro

KODIAK, Alaska - A bust of SM1 Douglas Munro is displayed with a painting of the Battle of Guadalcanal Sept. 27, 2011. The bust was generously donated by TriWest and the replica medal was provided by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Cutter Munro.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Munro took a break from a North Pacific patrol and avoidance of multiple typhoons to celebrate the cutter’s 40th year in service Tuesday in Yokosuka, Japan.

During the ceremony the ships crew paid homage to the ships namesake Douglas A. Munro, the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient, by reading a copy of Munro’s award citation. Cutter Munro obtained a replica of the Medal of Honor from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Through the generous support of TriWest, the cutter also created an exhibit consisting of the medal, a bronze bust and a wall mural depicting SM1 Munro’s heroics at the Battle of Guadalcanal on the mess deck.  This along with other memorabilia will be transferred to the next cutter bearing Munro’s name.

Munro was commissioned Sept. 27, 1971, at Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans.  The tenth of twelve 378-foot high endurance cutters, Munro was the first to be named after a Coast Guard hero.  Munro was originally homeported in Boston.  Since then, Munro has shifted homeports several times and been stationed in Seattle from 1973 to 1981, Honolulu from 1981 to 1989, Alameda, Calif., from 1989 to 2007 and Kodiak, Alaska, 2007 to present.

Although, Munro’s homeports and capabilities have changed over the years, the missions of maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, and homeland security have remained the same. A recent search and rescue case of particular note involved the rescue of the crew of the fishing vessel Alaska Ranger on Easter Sunday 2008. Munro’s crew coordinated and rescued 42 of the Alaska Ranger’s 47 crew from the frigid Bering Sea when the fishing vessel experienced uncontrollable flooding and sank.

After 40 years of service, the ship continues its remarkable performance, a direct reflection of superior leadership, vision, and outstanding crew that continues to personify the cutter’s motto of “honoring the past by serving the present.”