Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro Returns Home from Final patrol

The Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro (WHEC 724) is pictured during their last Bering Sea patrol, in which the crew conducted boarding evolutions of the fishing fleet and were available to respond to search and rescue cases in March 2021. The Douglas Munro is the last operational 378-foot Secretary class cutter and will officially be decommissioned on April 24, 2021. U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo.

KODIAK, Alaska — The crew aboard Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro, the service’s last operational 378-foot, high endurance cutter, returned home to Kodiak, Alaska, on March 13, following a 49-day deployment in the Bering Sea, the Coast Guard 17th District said in a March 17 release. 

While deployed, the crew of the Douglas Munro and its embarked MH-65 helicopter aviation detachment from Air Station Kodiak safeguarded the $13.9 billion Alaskan fishing industry and provided search and rescue coverage in an area spanning 890,000 square miles. The crew conducted multiple fisheries boardings, ensuring compliance with commercial fishing vessel regulations that ensure crew safety and the sustainability of fish stocks. 

In addition to the operational challenges the crew faced in the Bering Sea, the COVID-19 pandemic required the crew to abide by strict health protection precautions and COVID testing regimens prior to the start of their deployment. While making a logistics stop in Dutch Harbor the crew received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccinations.  

“This has been an extremely exciting and rewarding patrol as it is the end of an era for not only this cutter, but also for all the 378s that have served the Coast Guard since 1967,” said Capt. Riley Gatewood, the Douglas Munro’s commanding officer. “The legacy of Signalman First Class Douglas Munro lives on due to the hard work put forth by the many crew members who spent time away from loved ones to accomplish Coast Guard missions aboard Douglas Munro. It is a great honor and privilege to serve as Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard’s last 378-foot, high endurance cutter.” 

Commissioned Sept. 27, 1971, Douglas Munro was named in honor of Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro, the U.S. Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient, killed during the Guadalcanal Campaign of World War II on that same date in 1942. The ship is scheduled to be decommissioned later this year. Douglas Munro’s legacy will continue with the National Security Class Cutter, Coast Guard Cutter Munro, homeported in Alameda, California.