By Mark Edward Nero
The US Coast Guard’s sixth national security cutter, Munro, is to be commissioned April 1, 2017, at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal in Seattle, the USCG announced Sept. 26.
The cutter, which will be home-ported in Alameda, Calif., is named after the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient, Signalman 1st Class Douglas A. Munro, a native of Cle Elum, Wash.
The national security cutters are replacing the Coast Guard’s aging 378-foot high endurance cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s. Each vessel is 418 feet long, has a 54-foot beam and displaces 4,500 tons at full load.
The cutters have a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles and endurance for 60- to 90-day patrol cycles. They also have automated weapons systems and advanced command and control systems that enhance the Coast Guard’s interoperability with its partners in the Defense and Homeland Security departments.
The timing of the commissioning announcement coincided with an annual memorial service for Munro that took place Sept. 27 in Cle Elum. Munro died on Guadalcanal Sept. 27, 1942, after volunteering to evacuate a detachment of US Marines during the battle with Japanese forces holding the Pacific island.
Each year on Sept. 27, more than 100 Coast Guard men and women, along with representatives from the Seattle area chapters of the Coast Guard Warrant Officer Associations, the Chief Petty Officers Association and the Coast Guard Combat Veterans Association, gather to honor the sacrifice and memory of Munro.