Fitting Tribute for Medal of Honor Recipient
As the sole Medal of Honor recipient in Coast Guard history, Signalman First Class Douglas Albert Munro holds a special place in the hearts and minds of every Guardsman. To raise funds for the new Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard College Scholarship Fund, and honor the new Coast Guard headquarters that now bears his name, Northwest Territorial Mint created a one of a kind coin that offers an enduring tribute to Signalman First Class Munro’s legacy.
Doug Sheehan, the nephew of Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro, needed a high quality coin that exemplified his uncle’s courage, sacrifice, and devotion to duty.
A retired Commander in the Coast Guard, and nephew of Signalman First Class Douglas Munro, Doug Sheehan needed a commemorative piece that not only honored the courage of his uncle but also had a high perceived value. A Major General in the U.S. Army referred Doug to Northwest Territorial Mint based on some custom coins he had made for his unit. After doing his due diligence, Doug found Northwest Territorial Mint to be the best solution.
The obverse of the coin features a likeness of Signalman First Class Douglas Munro, taken from his official Coast Guard Picture. The reverse displays the Medal of Honor, next to Signalman First Class Munro, and the day of his brave sacrifice on the beaches of Guadalcanal.
Doug loved the finished product, “I was blown away by the finished product. Not only is it a great looking coin, but the level of detail is wonderful. They really surpassed my already high expectations.” He found the sales staff at Northwest Territorial Mint to be professional, detail oriented, honest and upfront about what was needed to create the coin from start to finish.
Douglas A. Munro, a signalman first class of the United States Coast Guard, died heroically on Guadalcanal on 27 September 1942, evacuating a detachment of Marines who were facing annihilation by an unanticipated large enemy force. He succeeded in safely rescuing them but was mortally wounded in the battle.
Even more incredible was that he had already played a key role earlier in the engagement when he led the original detachment of ten boats that landed the Marines on the beach. Hours later, he was advised by the officer-in-charge that conditions at the insertion point were not as expected. The Marines were under attack from a larger Japanese force and needed to be pulled out right away.
Signalman First Class Munro volunteered to lead the boats back to beach for the evacuation. Commanding the rescue expedition, he brought the boats in-shore under heavy enemy fire and proceeded to evacuate the Marines still on the beach. Eventually most of the Marines were safely away but the last remaining elements of the rear guard were having difficulty embarking. Signalman First Class Munro heroically maneuvered himself and his boats into position, covering the last groups of men as they headed to safety. In doing so, he exposed himself to greater enemy fire and suffered his fatal wound. At the time it as reported that he had remained conscious long enough to utter his final four words: "Did they get off”?
For his heroic and selfless actions in the completion of this rescue mission, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was also posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal. His other decorations included the American Defense Service Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Signalman First Class Munro’s heroic legacy has been honored in the naming of the USCGC Munro (WHEC-724), the USS Douglas A. Munro (DE-422), Munro Hall at the Coast Guard Academy, the new Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C., and this breathtaking coin from Northwest Territorial Mint.
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Click on the images below to view the Douglas Munro Medal gallery: