Adm. Paul F. Zukunft is commandant of the Coast Guard.
The branches of the armed forces share a special bond. We serve the same public and take the same oath to support and defend the Constitution.
The sacrifice of Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro gets at the very core of the relationship. But more importantly, it epitomizes the bond shared by all those wearing the uniform, past and present. The bond of service.
On Sept. 27, 1942, Munro volunteered to lead the evacuation and rescue of a battalion of Marines trapped by enemy forces. Munro maneuvered his boat to provide cover for the Marines and was fatally wounded.
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Munro sacrificed his own life to save those Marines -- men who went on to change the world. One Marine whose life was saved was the battalion commander of those stranded leathernecks, Lt. Col. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller.
Munro's story of heroism, courage and final sacrifice are taught to our newest Coast Guard members, often on the first day of training. He is the ultimate forebearer of our service's core values.
In his fight to save those 500 Marines, Munro didn't face fire alone. By his side in combat were Samuel Roberts and Raymond Evans.
Navy Coxswain Samuel Roberts volunteered to join Munro and go back to rescue the battalion. Roberts maneuvered his boat in front of enemy forces, drawing their fire. His plan was effective and instrumental in saving those lives.
As he was about to withdraw, Roberts' boat was hit and he was mortally wounded. His heroism is memorialized by the service of the USS Samuel B. Roberts.
And Cmdr. Ray Evans, who enlisted on the same day at the same Seattle recruiting station as Munro, was there to hear Munro's final words: "Did they get off?"
Munro gave his life so those men could live and his final breath was for them.
The unbreakable service bond is evident in this last act by Douglas Munro: the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard side by side.
The events of Guadalcanal illustrate the seamless partnership between our nation's sea services. It is a bond we shared then, just as we do today.
The Coast Guard is, first and foremost, an armed service. Coast Guard men and women have served in every armed conflict since our nation's founding, and throughout history, these selfless men and women serve to preserve the American way of life.
The Department of Defense and the Coast Guard share a complementary and mutually reinforcing relationship. We leverage our respective roles and authorities to best accomplish the mission -- to ready our national defense and ensure our national security. Success requires this partnership.
As our newest National Security Cutter enters the fleet and serves as Munro's namesake, we honor this partnership. National Security Cutter Munro joins our growing fleet of capable and interoperable assets that will go after threats, now and well into the future.
We celebrate the legacy that is Douglas Munro. He is a Coast Guard hero. He is a Marine Corps hero. He is a uniquely American hero.