Douglas A. Munro, a signalman first class of the United States Coast Guard, died heroically on Guadalcanal September 27, 1942, after succeeding in his assignment, for which he had volunteered, to evacuate a detachment of Marines from a point where enemy opposition developed beyond anticipated dimensions. Munro's final words were "Did they get off?"
Douglas Albert Munro was born in Vancouver, Canada, of American parents, on October 11, 1919, but spent his entire life previous to his enlistment in South Cle Elum, Washington. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. James Munro of South Cle Elum. Douglas Munro was educated at the South Cle Elum Grade School and was graduated from the Cle Elum High School in 1937. He attended the Central Washington College of Education for a year and left to enlist in the United States Coast Guard in 1939. He had an outstanding record as an enlisted man and was promoted rapidly through the various ratings to a signalman, first class.
In the battle [where he was killed in action], Munro had already played an important part, since he was in charge of the original detachment of ten boats that had landed the Marines at the scene. He had successfully got them ashore and then had headed his boats back to a previously assigned position. Almost immediately upon his return, he was advised by the officer in charge that conditions had been different than had been anticipated and that it was necessary to evacuate the men immediately. Munro volunteered for the job of heading the boats for the evacuation. In charge of the rescue expedition, he brought the boats in-shore under heavy enemy fire and proceeded to evacuate the men on the beach. When most of them were in the boats, complications arose in evacuating the last men, whom Munro realized would be in the greatest danger. He accordingly so placed himself and his boats that they would serve as cover for the last men to leave. It was thus that he was fatally wounded -- protecting the men after he had evacuated them. He remained conscious sufficiently long only to say four words: "Did they get off?" He died, therefore, with the realization that his mission had succeeded and his final assignment had been carried out.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Munro was also awarded, posthumously, the Purple Heart Medal, and was eligible for the American Defense Service Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.