SM 1 Douglas Albert Munro

2018-4-20 Munro

Of the 3,498 Medal of Honor recipients in American history, only one was from the U.S. Coast Guard: Signalman 1st Class Douglas Albert Munro. On this day 74 years ago, Munro sacrificed himself at the Matanikau River at Point Cruz in Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, while saving hundreds of his fellow service members.

In recognition, Munro was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his “extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty.” Munro remains the only member of the Coast Guard to earn this distinction.

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Munro grew up in South Cle Elum, Washington. He enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1939. Upon hearing that the Coast Guard had been ordered to man transport vessels in the Pacific during World War II, Munro pleaded with his executive officer to allow him to transfer to this mission. He was eventually successful and was assigned to transport duty supporting Marine landings at Guadalcanal during the Solomon Islands campaign.

On Sept. 27, 1942, nearly 500 Marines were tasked with crossing the Matanikau River at Point Cruz at Guadalcanal. However, the Marines faced imminent danger at the hands of a larger and more heavily armed than anticipated Japanese force.

Munro volunteered to lead the evacuation mission as the Marines were pinned in a vulnerable position by advancing Japanese forces. Munro led a group of small boats charged with protecting 24 Higgins landing craft that were attempting to extract the Marines.

As machine gun fire from the land continued, Munro positioned his Coast Guard craft between the Japanese and the Higgins boats to provide cover for the evacuation. Armed with only two small guns on his plywood boat, Munro successfully held off the Japanese attack, enabling nearly 500 Marines, including 25 wounded, to escape.

As the last Marines were safely under way and while turning back to rescue a grounded Higgins boat, Munro was fatally wounded. Still thinking of those Marines he was charged to protect, his final words were: “Did they get off?”

Munro exemplified the honor, valor, and patriotism that United States Coast Guard service men and women display in defending our nation’s waters. In honoring Munro, we recognize the Coast Guard’s vital role in protecting America’s maritime security.

Munro embodied the Coast Guard’s motto, semper paratus (“always ready”), in his heroic, decisive actions in Guadalcanal. Recognizing the crucial security the Coast Guard provides our nation, Congress and the president should strive to ensure this sea service remains always ready.

We honor you, Douglas Munro.

(#Repost @the Daily Signal)

WAC Alyce Dixon

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Mrs. Dixon was working for the War Department’s secretarial pool at the newly constructed Pentagon in 1943 when she enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps, soon to be called the Women’s Army Corps.

She was initially limited to administrative assignments in Iowa and Texas. But in 1945, she joined the newly established 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. The battalion was the only unit of black WACs to serve overseas in World War II and was led by Charity Adams, one of the first black female commissioned officers in the war.

The Army was segregated, and Mrs. Dixon’s battalion — made up of more than 800 African American woman and posted in England and France — dined and was housed separately from other WACs.

The 6888th was tasked with sorting and distributing what she estimated were billions of backlogged letters and packages to soldiers — a pileup attributed to the disruption in delivery caused by the Battle of the Bulge.

Their mission was deemed vital to sustaining morale on the front lines, but a significant hurdle was identifying a piece of mail’s ultimate destination based on incomplete information supplied by the sender.

“A lot of mothers wrote to ‘Buster, U.S. Army,’ or ‘Junior, U.S. Army,’ ” Mrs. Dixon told an Army publication. “We knew every service member had a number and we had difficulty finding them; however, we found every person. Also a lot of wives and sweethearts wrote to soldiers every day. There were stacks and stacks of mail we had to send back indicating deceased. That was sad.”

She added: “We had to fight mice and rats while sorting the mail. People down south from Alabama were sending fried chicken and bread to soldiers in France.”

Working three shifts a day, seven days a week, the battalion accomplished in three months what was projected by the brass to take half a year.

Mrs. Dixon returned to Washington in the late 1940s and worked for the Census Bureau and later the Pentagon, retiring in 1972 as a purchasing agent.

We honor you, Alyce Dixon .

(#Repost @The Washington Post)

LT Garnett Bailey Moneymaker

2018-4-13 Moneymaker

Born in 1918 in Clifton Forge, VA to Reginald Clyde and Florence Opal (Baker) Moneymaker, he grew up in rural Virginia with two siblings, John and Rosemary, on the Cow Pasture River. Sounds idyllic and it was. After high school he joined the Navy in 1937 and was assigned to the Electrical Division on the Light Cruiser U.S.S. Boise. The family wants to thank all the men and women who serve and have served in the military because we know the sacrifice that is made.

Mon’s world changed in 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. At the end of his four-year tour of duty, he was re-enlisted for another four, very trying years of WWII. He was in charge of the searchlights in the Battle of Guadalcanal and later in the invasion of Sicily and Italy. The diary he kept at that time is now part of the Library of Congress. During the last year and a half of the war Mon had several stateside postings. The last was with the Scouts and Raiders, forerunners of the Navy SEALS, where he learned guerilla warfare tactics and rudimentary Mandarin Chinese. His children still remember him saying “ni hao” (hello) with just the right intonation, his blue eyes twinkling.

We honor you, Garnett Moneymaker.

(#Repost @Legacy.com)

PFC Marshall W Walter

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\He was inducted into military service January 7, 1943, at Huntington, WV. He was transferred to the enlisted reserve cops the same date, and reported for active duty January 14, 1943, at Ft Thomas, KY. He left the United States for foreign service September 5, 1944 and arrived at Cherbourg, France on September 15, 1944.

Marshall was reported to have done more than his share in combat with his comrades and tried to keep their spirits up at all times. He always had a smile and was very proud of being the first one in his unit to be a possessor of a purple heart, received for wounds in action in the European Theatre of Operations October 28, 1944.

He was killed in action November 19, 1944 in the vicinity of St. George in France, as a result of shrapnel wounds. At the time of his death he was serving Private first class, Co 1, 71st Regiment.

We honor you, Marshall Walter.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

1LT Ruth Berger

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Ruth Berger was born in 1922 and was raised in Evanston, IL. After graduating high school, she went to school for nursing—completing her schooling during the outbreak of World War II. Fueled by a longing for adventure, she enlisted in the Army in the summer of 1944 and was sent to the European Theater of Operations as a 1st Lieutenant, assigned to the 34th Hospital Train based out of Paris, France.

As trains carried wounded soldiers from the frontlines in the Ardennes and Rhineland back to hospitals in Paris and Le Havre, Berger cared for hundreds of wounded soldiers and was subjected to attack by German V-1 “Buzz Bombs”—although at the time, she was unaware of the danger they posed.

After the war ended, Berger cared for survivors of the Holocaust who were also being transported to hospitals in France. She was eventually discharged and returned to the U.S. where she married and worked as a nurse until her retirement.

We honor you, Ruth Berger.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

MAJ Richard “Dick” Winters

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Winters was born Jan. 21, 1918 and studied economics at Franklin & Marshall College before enlisting, according to a biography on the Penn State website.

Winters became the leader of Company E, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division on D-Day, after the death of the company commander during the invasion of Normandy.

During that invasion, Winters led 13 of his men in destroying an enemy battery and obtained a detailed map of German defenses along Utah Beach. In September 1944, he led 20 men in a successful attack on a German force of 200 soldiers. Occupying the Bastogne area of Belgium at the time of the Battle of the Bulge, he and his men held their place until the Third Army broke through enemy lines, and Winters shortly afterward was promoted to major.

After returning home, Winters married his wife, Ethel, in May 1948, and trained infantry and Army Ranger units at Fort Dix during the Korean War. He started a company selling livestock feed to farmers, and he and his family eventually settled in a farmhouse in Hershey, Pa., where he retired.

Historian Stephen Ambrose interviewed Winters for the 1992 book “Band of Brothers,” upon which the HBO miniseries that started airing in September 2001 was based. Winters himself published a memoir in 2006 entitled “Beyond Band of Brothers.”

When people asked whether he was a hero, he echoed the words of his World War II buddy, Mike Ranney: “No, but I served in a company of heroes.”

William Guarnere, 88, said what he remembers about Winters was “great leadership. He was a good man, a very good man,” Guarnere said. “I would follow him to hell and back. So would the men from E Company.”

We honor you, Richard Winters.

(#Repost @Legacy.com)

T/SGT Max Thompson

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Max Thompson was born in Bethel, North Carolina on July 21, 1922. He was working in a paper mill when he was drafted into the United States Army on November 14, 1942 at age 20. His service began at Camp Croft, South Carolina.

Thompson went to war as an infantryman with the 1st Infantry Division. As a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, he hit Omaha Beach on D-Day and then fought across France with his comrades.

In October 1944, the 1st Infantry Division was one of the units assigned to breach the Siegfried Line and seize the German city of Aachen. Seventy years ago, Sergeant Max Thompson, a squad leader, was evacuating casualties when he saw that a neighboring platoon had been overrun by a German counterattack.

Thompson used every weapon at his disposal – an abandoned machine gun, a bazooka, a Browning Automatic Rifle – and with incredible personal courage stemmed the Nazi advance alone. His Medal of Honor was presented to him the following summer.

We honor you, Max Thompson.

(#Repost @Their Finest Hour)