USCGC Munro (WHEC-724)

USCGC Munro (WHEC-724)

USCGC "Munro" (WHEC-724) is a High Endurance Cutter of the United States Coast Guard, named for Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro (1919–1942), the only Coast Guardsman to be awarded the Medal of Honor. The vessel is currently commanded by Captain Craig B. Lloyd (June 2006 - Present) [cite web
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title = "Munro" History
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] , and as of September 04, 2007 is stationed in Kodiak, Alaska.

"Munro" was commissioned on September 27, 1971, at Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans, Louisiana. The tenth of twelve 378-foot (115 m) cutters, she was the first to be named after a Coast Guard hero. The previously commissioned 378-footers had been named for former secretaries of the Treasury, a tradition that began in 1830 when a cutter was named for Alexander Hamilton.

Secretary of Transportation John A. Volpe and Douglas Munro's mother, Edith, were on hand to commission the "Munro". The ship's original complement included 17 officers and 143 enlisted men, under the command of the ship's first Commanding Officer, Captain John T. Rouse.

The dedication of the ship took place on April 15, 1972, at "Munro"'s first homeport of Boston, Massachusetts. Secretary Volpe was once again on hand, retelling the story of Douglas Munro and reminding the crew of the honor they had to bear the name of that hero. While operating out of Boston, the ship's original missions included ocean station patrol and search and rescue.

The stay in Boston was not to last long, however, as the "Munro" shifted to a new homeport of Seattle, Washington, on August 29, 1973. The "Seattle Post-Intelligencer" hailed the arrival of "Two ("Munro" and "Boutwell") of the newest, finest ships in the Coast Guard fleet." Seattle was also especially receptive to the "Munro" because Douglas Munro himself had been a resident of Cle Elum, a small town in Washington State. While operating out of Seattle, the "Munro" became more active in the fisheries enforcement mission and less active in the ocean station mission, which was quickly being made obsolete by technological advances. Alaskan fisheries were especially busy and controversial at this time. In 1971, for instance, the combined Japanese, Russian, Canadian, and South Korean fishing fleets had caught about ten times as many fish as the U.S. fleet did. Coast Guard action was badly needed to regulate the practices of these foreign fleets. "Munro" performed this mission admirably and with many successes, including the seizure of the Korean longliner "Dong Won No. 51" in June of 1979.

In 1980, the ship moved to yet another new homeport: Honolulu, Hawaii. While conducting training with the Japan Coast Guard in 1983 the "Munro" was called upon to aid in the rescue and salvage operations of Korean Air Flight 007 in the Sea of Japan. [cite web
last = Crowley
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title = USCGC Munro And The Korean Airliner (KAL-007)
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] In 1986, "Munro" interdicted the motor vessel "Line Island Trader", which had been attempting to enter the U.S. with 4.5 tons of marijuana. Later that same year, the ship underwent an extensive three-year Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) program. Weapons systems were upgraded and many portions of the cutter were remodeled. Upon being re-commissioned in November 1989, "Munro" was homeported at Coast Guard Island in Alameda, California.

In 1997, the cutter seized the Russian fishing trawler "Chernyayevo" in the Bering Sea for violation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976, setting an important precedent for law enforcement along the U.S./Russia maritime boundary. In 1998, "Munro" intercepted the Chinese vessel "Chih Yung", carrying 172 people attempting to illegally enter the U.S. In 1999, the cutter interdicted the fishing vessel "Eduardo I", carrying 83 illegal Ecuadorian migrants. Also in 1998, "Munro" interdicted the Mexican vessel "Xolescuintle", seizing 11.5 tons of cocaine, one of the largest drug seizures in Coast Guard history. In 1999, the cutter seized the motor vessel "Wing Fung Lung", carrying 259 illegal Chinese migrants. In 2003, the cutter interdicted the fishing vessel "Candy I" with 4 tons of cocaine. In 2003, the cutter interdicted two "go-fast" boats with 2 tons of cocaine using warning shots across the bow of one with an MH-68 "Stingray" Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON). The other was dead reckoned based on its course and speed while "Munro" was on turbines for 16hrs before interdicting the second. The second "go-fast" then proceeded to light itself on fire to destroy the bales onboard the vessel, but Munro's crew quickly sank the vessel and later recovered approx 139 bales of cocaine. Four traffickers were recovered with two needing medical assistance from the Munro's Corpsman.

From December 2004 to June 2005, "Munro" operated in the Persian Gulf with the "Bonhomme Richard" Expeditionary Strike Group. During the "Out of Hemisphere" patrol "Munro" contributed in the relief efforts of the 2004 tsunami providing food and water to Indonesia and later seizing a vessel overtaken by pirates off the Horn of Africa. In 2006 the cutter interdicted two "go-fast" boats working in tandem with 2 tons of cocaine using disabling shots with an MH-68 "Stingray" Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON).

As of September 4, 2007, The "Munro" is home-ported in Kodiak, Alaska. The "Munro" also made an appearance in an episode of the Discovery Channel series "Deadliest Catch", conducting search and rescue operations following the loss of the fishing vessel "Ocean Challenger". The "Munro" continues to serve in the sorrounding area.

References

External links

* [http://www.uscg.mil/pacarea/Munro/ USCGC "Munro" official website]


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