The SITREP: Marine Helps in Boy’s Rescue, Army Teams with FEMA & More

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Capt. Justin Griffis, an operations and training officer with Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, assisted in the rescue of a 7-year old Japanese boy who almost drowned at Maeda Flats, Okinawa, Japan.

From the military services and around the DoD, here’s your SITREP for Tuesday, August 15, 2017.

  • The Army and the Department of Defense are at the forefront of preparing for any potential disasters in the southwestern United States. Soldiers and DOD employees with U.S. Army North’s Task Force 51 participated in exercise Vigilant Guard in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • USS John C. Stennis returned to its homeport after successful sea trials, completing the last phase of its planned incremental availability five days early.
  • While some may think the gap between the civilian and military sectors in national security has grown over the years, an inside look at airmen and defense factory collaboration demonstrates just how valuable they are to one another.
  • Marine comes to the relief of a 7-year-old Japanese boy on a beach in Okinawa, Japan.

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The SITREP: Marine Helps in Boy’s Rescue, Army Teams with FEMA & More

Faces of the Fleet: U.S. Naval Academy Plebe Parents’ Weekend

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Starting college can be tough on students as well as their parents. Now, imagine saying goodbye before six weeks of a fast-paced, boot camp-style orientation that begins four years of preparing U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen to become commissioned naval officers.

This past weekend, parents and friends of the incoming freshmen – known as plebes at the academy – saw each other for the first time during Plebe Parents’ Weekend. As you can see, parents and friends can be shocked to see how much their loved ones changed during Plebe Summer, which challenged the new midshipmen to develop leadership ability, motivation, moral courage, teamwork and physical strength.

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

 


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Faces of the Fleet: U.S. Naval Academy Plebe Parents’ Weekend

Army Ranger Loses Hand In Act That Earned Him Medal of Honor

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By Molly Manuszewski, DoD News

This blog is part of a weekly series called “Medal of Honor Monday,” in which we’ll highlight one of the nearly 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military’s highest medal for valor.

Today we honor an Army Ranger who was presented the Medal of Honor on July 12, 2011, for unselfishly risking his life to save his fellow Rangers – despite being under enemy fire and severely injured – an act that cost him his right hand.

Army Staff Sgt. Leroy Petry. Army photo

Staff Sgt. Leroy A. Petry was born in New Mexico in July 1979. He graduated from St. Catherine’s Indian High School. Not long after, Petry followed his childhood dream by enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1999, something he wanted to do since he was 7 years old.

After enlisting, Petry joined the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia. There, he completed the Basic Airborne Course and the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Petry’s heroic story began on May 26, 2008, when he and his team were assigned a mission in Afghanistan’s Paktia Province. Petry, the senior noncommissioned officer, was supposed to go to platoon headquarters. However, he realized one of the assault squads needed some assistance with clearing their assigned building. Taking initiative, he informed the platoon leader that he was moving to the squad help them. Petry took fellow Ranger Pfc. Lucas Robinson with him to clear the outer courtyard.

Once they got there, the two crossed the area, and an enemy insurgent fired on them with an AK-47 from about 10 yards away. Petry was shot in both of his legs, and Robinson was hit in his side plate. Although severely wounded, Petry attempted to lead Robinson to safety by a chicken coop as the enemy continued to fire at them.

Petry reported to Sgt. Daniel Higgins that there had been enemy contact and that he and Robinson were wounded. Higgins, a team leader, then moved to the outer courtyard to help. Petry threw a grenade in the vicinity of the enemy position, which created a brief silence in enemy fire, so Higgins was able to tend to the two wounded soldiers.

While taking cover, enemy fighters began throwing grenades as fellow Rangers headed toward the area to assist. One landed right in front of Higgins and Robinson. So Petry, already wounded, picked up the grenade and threw it away from his fellow Rangers. However, as he was releasing the grenade, it detonated, destroying his right hand.

Medal of Honor recipient Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry describes the combat action of May 26, 2008, near Paktya, Afghanistan, in which he saved the lives of two fellow Rangers, during a press conference after he was inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, July 13, 2011. Petry lost his hand in the 2008 fight, but now uses a state-of-the-art prosthesis. DOD photo by R.D. Ward

Higgins later wrote in a statement, “If not for Staff Sgt. Petry’s actions, we would have been seriously wounded or killed.” It’s safe to say his gallantry would not go unnoticed.

President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Petry in 2011.

Petry could have retired with honors. Instead, he chose to re-enlist, despite his continuing struggle with his battle wounds. He went on to become a liaison officer for the U.S. Special Operations Command Care Coalition’s Northwest Region, working as an advocate for wounded warriors, ill and injured special operators and their families. Throughout his career, he was deployed eight times – two supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and six supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Petry retired as master sergeant in July 2014.

Petry selflessly risked his own life to save the lives of two Rangers with complete disregard for his personal safety. His actions exemplify the spirit of a true Army warrior and have brought great credit to the 75th Ranger Regiment.

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Army Ranger Loses Hand In Act That Earned Him Medal of Honor

How World War I Made the Middle East What It Is Today

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By Katie Lange
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

When World War I ended, new countries were born and borders were redrawn in the Middle East. But those changes were marked with missteps that have led to many of the conflicts that have made it one of the most volatile regions in the world.

If you’re not sure why, here’s the basic gist.

The 1916-1918 Arab Revolt was often carried out by mounted Arab tribesmen, who knew the land intimately and were excellent marksmen. Library of Congress photo

The Middle East’s Role in WWI

The British, French and Russians had been jockeying for position over the declining Ottoman Empire for decades before World War I. But as the war unfolded, Germany’s spreading influence in the region brought concern from all parties. Great Britain wanted to protect its interests in the region – mainly oil and mobility via the Suez Canal – so Britain and its most important colony, India, sent troops to Bahrain. On Nov. 5, 1914, France and Britain declared war on the Ottoman Empire. The fight eventually moved east.

Organization Before the War

A map of the Middle East circa 1914.

There were three main components to the Middle East: the Ottoman Empire, Persia and Arabia.

During World War I, the centuries-old Ottoman Empire mostly encompassed the areas around Turkey, Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine (Israel hadn’t been created yet). Armenia was also part of the empire.

Persia (modern-day Iran) was divided into three spheres of influence before the war: Russian-controlled, British-controlled, and a neutral zone.  During the war it became a battleground for Russian, Turkish and British troops.

Arabia: This encompassed most of modern-day Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. Parts of it were fought over by the Ottoman Empire for a century prior to the war, when power had gone back and forth, but the region remained relatively autonomous during World War I.

What Changed:

During the war, Arab rebels who wanted to be free from the Ottoman Empire asked the British for help. The British supported that request, with the help of France. When the war ended, the two European powers implemented a mandate system in the Treaty of Versailles that split up the former empire’s countries – much to the chagrin of those who lived there.

A current-day map of the Middle East.

Turkey, an independent republic at that point, became the successor state to the Ottoman Empire. It’s still the biggest and most powerful country in the region.

Lebanon was created as a state separate from Syria, which had seen Lebanon as part of its own territory for years. These were put under French rule and stayed that way until after World War II.

Mesopotamia (Iraq) had been made up of three former Turkish provinces – Mosul in the north (known as Kurdistan), Basra in the south, and Baghdad in the middle. After the war, they were united as one country under British colonial rule.

Palestine was put under British control and divided into two countries, with the western portion of it becoming Trans-Jordan (later, just Jordan).

Georgia and Armenia (northeast of Turkey) were given international recognition.

Persia: Since Russia had problems of its own (namely, civil war), Britain became the dominant force.

Arabia: In 1932, many of the region’s kingdoms and dependencies were combined into one, called Saudi Arabia. Yemen, Oman, Muscat and the states that would later make up the UAE remained independent.

The Discord that Followed:

The Arabian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in early 1919 included King Faisal (front, center) and Lawrence of Arabia (third from right). National Archives photo.

Iraq:
When Iraq was put under British rule after the war, three missteps led to conflict in the region that continues today:

  • British leaders didn’t understand Iraq’s political or social issues and underestimated the popularity of the Arab nationalist movement (which was opposed to British rule).

    • Iraq’s provinces were each ruled by tribes and sheiks and had their own ethnic, cultural and religious identity. They weren’t used to a centralized government, which now included the voices and protections of minorities like Jews and Christians, so discord erupted from the start. A rebellion in 1920 was quelled just in time for the following:
  • The 1921 Cairo Conference.
    • Agreements made at the conference drastically reduced British troop levels in a region that had little civil order and governmental oversite.
    • The British also scrapped their promise to create an independent Kurdistan in Iraq’s north. To this day, Kurds in Turkey and elsewhere continue to defend their desire to become an autonomous region.
    • The conference led to the next major point:
  • The appointment of Faisal as king.
    • At the conference, Faisal Bin Al Hussein Bin Ali EI-Hashemi – Faisal, for short – was installed as Iraq’s king since he was pivotal in the success of the Arab revolt against the Ottomans. But as ruler, he rejected British control and wanted to form a single national identity, despite the aforementioned tribes, religions and ethnic groups. Since then, mostly Sunni Arabs have had political control over land that was largely populated by Kurds and Shiites, and each group’s grievances have brought about violent confrontations.

Britain’s division of the mandated area.

Palestine/Jordan:
The Cairo Conference’s decision to install Faisal as king in Iraq also deeply affected Palestine and Jordan. Faisal’s brother, Abdullah, had been trying to regain Syrian independence from the French. But the British didn’t want to cause conflict with France, so it threatened Faisal, telling him he wouldn’t get to rule Iraq if Abdullah attacked Syria. To appease Abdullah, the British created Trans-Jordan from Palestinian land and made Abdullah its king. This split set the foundation for the Arab-Israeli conflict we see today, since it split in half the land that would be considered for a future Jewish national homeland.

Persia:
A lot went on in this region during the 20th century. Here are some of the main takeaways.

The Anglo-Persian Agreement of 1919 that was formed after World War I would have given Persia British money and advisors in exchange for oil access. But that was rejected by the Iranian Parliament in 1921.

Iran’s king, Ahmad Shah Qajar, was removed from power in 1925 by the parliament after his position was weakened in a military coup. Reza Pahlavi, a former military officer, was named the new king and, in 1935, renamed the nation Iran. He was deposed in 1941 following an invasion by Soviet, British and other commonwealth forces looking to secure oil reserves from possible German seizure. His son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, then became king (shah, as they call it).

U.S. President Gerald Ford and the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, look at charts during a state visit. Photo by David Hume Kennerly, May 1975, courtesy of Gerald Ford Library

Unrest due to corruption and the shah’s efforts to westernize the country finally bubbled over in 1979, and the shah was forced to leave Iran. The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had previously been exiled, returned to become the country’s supreme spiritual leader, and he made Iran a theocracy. Iranian revolutionaries, angered by American interests and political dealings in their country, also stormed the U.S. Embassy, accusing the U.S. of harboring the exiled shah, who had relied on the U.S. to stay in power. Hostages were taken, ties were severed, and thus began the lack of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran that continue to this day.

Other Issues that Arose From WWI:

World War I also saw the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and its outcomes helped lead to the rise of Adolf Hitler and World War II. The Cold War can also trace roots back to World War I.

But all of those topics are for another day. The intricacies of the Middle East are enough for this blog!

Read More: Why the Great War Matters | U.S. Army Center for Military History

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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How World War I Made the Middle East What It Is Today

The SITREP: Sailors Turn Military Work into Certificates, Marines Sharpen IED Skills & More

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Machinery Repairman 1st Class Carmen Vescio, from Fulton, N.Y., uses a lathe aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), July 30, 2017, in the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston A. Mohr)

From the military services and around the DoD, here’s your SITREP for Thursday, August 10, 2017.

  • A team of Army scientists and engineers have challenged long-held views in the area of human-autonomy interaction to change the way science involves people, especially in developing advanced technical systems that involve artificial intelligence and autonomy.
  • The United Service Military Apprenticeship Program offers apprenticeships for most rated sailors. The program works with the Department of Labor to provide nationally recognized apprenticeship programs which result in journeyman-level certificates of completion for members of the sea services.
  • Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers, under the command of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces, joined their counterparts from South Korean and Japanese air forces in sequenced bilateral missions this week.
  • Marines work to perfect IED detection during a counter improvised explosive device training course in North Carolina.

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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The SITREP: Sailors Turn Military Work into Certificates, Marines Sharpen IED Skills & More

Your Navy Operating Forward – Sydney, Matsu Bay, Coral Sea

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Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


SYDNEY, Australia: The forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) departs Sydney, Australia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeremy Graham/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: Master Sgt. Jay Alvarez, left, and Lance Cpl. Bryce Gibbs move ordnance aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ian Kinkead/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) transits the Mediterranean Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Gaither/Released)

CORAL SEA: Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) 21, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, approaches the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during Talisman Saber 17. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Sykes/Released)

MUTSU BAY, Japan: Mineman 1st Class Zachary Abel deploys a AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization Vehicle during the 2JA 2017 Mine Countermeasures Exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William McCann/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: An F/A-18F Super Hornet from the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) while another Super Hornet from the “Black Knights” and an EA-18G Growler from the “Gray Wolves” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142 prepare to launch, July 29, 2017, in the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston A. Mohr/Released)

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Your Navy Operating Forward – Sydney, Matsu Bay, Coral Sea

Military-Connected Students Interview Top Military Officials

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Gen. Mark A. Milley, 39th Chief of Staff, United States Army, is interviewed by Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) Cub Reporters Lauren Lemon (left) and Mary Elizabeth Ingram (right), both incoming seniors at Quantico Middle/High School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, during the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) 19th Annual National Training Seminar at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel. Defense Media Activity (DMA) Social Media personnel mentored the students throughout the day. Department of Defense photo by Marvin Lynchard

Last week, the Military Child Education Coalition’s 19th National Training Seminar was held in Washington, D.C., in support of military-connected students who attend public and Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools.

During the event, two school-aged reporters, Mary Ingram and Lauren Lemon, both seniors at Quantico High School in Virginia, had the opportunity to meet and interview leaders in the military community. They were mentored by current Department of Defense communicators from the Defense Media Activity. Below, they describe their experiences:

Mary Ingram

Mary Ingram:

“We had the wonderful opportunity to meet and interview exceptionally influential leaders, which included U.S. Air Force General Robin Rand, the commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command in Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana; U.S Army General Mark A. Miley, the Chief of Staff of the Army; U.S. Army Lieutenant General Gwen Bingham, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management; and U.S. Army Lieutenant General Charles D. Luckey, the Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, United States Army Reserve Command. During these interviews, my partner and I determined that there was a common theme among each of these leaders — that military-connected students should have a quality education in a safe environment regardless of the location.

“We also had the opportunity to observe a lecture given by Ms. Kathleen Facon, the Chief of Educational Partnerships Branch for DoDEA, and Dr. Maureen Dowling, the director of Office of Non-Public Education and Military Affairs Team for the Department of Education. In this distinguished lecture, we learned how these agencies both support military-connected students, families and schools.  We learned what resources the DoDEA provides to military-connected school districts to allow for the expansion of existing programs as well as fund innovative solutions to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of the highly mobile military-connected students in their community. In this lecture, we also were informed of the opportunity for students stationed within countries without DODEA schools through the Non-DoD Schools Program (NDSP).

“The main takeaway from this experience is that the military community and civilian community are constantly working together in an effort to help military-connected students receive a quality education.”

Lauren Lemon

Lauren Lemon:

“Working with the Defense Media Activity media team and the Department of Defense Education Activity communication team in Washington, D.C., was a wonderful experience that provided me with the opportunity to meet spectacular people.

“While at the conference, my peer and I were cub reporters and had the opportunity to interview senior military generals. Also, we got to witness how the DODEA school system functions in regards to decision-making and how they support school districts with military-connected children.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to meet such inspiring figures and hear their viewpoints regarding military-connected families and how it perfectly correlated to my life as a military child. I’m grateful for being given the opportunity to partake in the MCEC conference and meet such wonderful people.”

Watch a video highlighting some of the interviews Mary and Lauren conducted below:

 

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The SITREP: Marines Identify the Fallen, Soldiers Sharpen Driving Skills & More

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Graphic courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps

From the military services and around the DoD, here’s your SITREP for Tuesday, August 8, 2017.

  • The Marines lost in the Osprey mishap off the east coast of Australia have been identified.
  • Army Reserve soldiers sharpen their skills during emergency vehicle operations training.
  • The Navy announced it’s implementing a new distribution policy for active component and full time support senior enlisted supervisors designed to improve manning levels at sea and other operational units.
  • Air mobility forces partnered with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division for a joint forcible entry exercise at both Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Moses Lake as part of Exercise Mobility Guardian.

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The SITREP: Marines Identify the Fallen, Soldiers Sharpen Driving Skills & More

Only Coast Guard Medal of Honor Recipient Saved 500 Marines

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By Katie Lange
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

This blog is part of a weekly series called “Medal of Honor Monday,” in which we’ll highlight one of the nearly 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military’s highest medal for valor.

In honor of the Coast Guard’s birthday last week, we thought it would be fitting to highlight the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient – Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro.

Munro was born in Vancouver, Canada, to American parents, but he spent most of his early life living in South Cle Elum, Washington, where he graduated from high school in 1937. After a year of college, he enlisted in the Coast Guard.

U.S. Coast Guard Signalman First Class Douglas Munro. Coast Guard photos

Munro excelled in his duties and quickly rose in the ranks to signalman first class. During his three years in the Coast Guard, he was known as a hard worker who was dedicated to improving himself and his peers.

While the Coast Guard usually protects U.S. shores, the service played a large combat role in World War II, working to transport Marines to and from insertion points during many of the Pacific campaigns, including Guadalcanal. The U.S. had been working to counter Japanese advances in the Solomon Islands, of which Guadalcanal was a part. The island was strategically important because the Japanese were building an airfield there, and it would make things much harder on the Allies if it were completed.

It was at Guadalcanal where Munro earned his Medal of Honor.

On Sept. 27, 1942, Munro was in charge of a group of small boats that were used to drop about 500 Marines at a beachhead known as Point Cruz, by the Matanikau River. The plan was for the Marines to drive the Japanese from the area west of the river and establish an inland patrol base.

When Munro’s boats returned to their rallying point after the dropoff, they were told that the conditions where the Marines had been left were much worse than anticipated – they were under attack from a huge Japanese force and needed to be extracted immediately.

Munro quickly volunteered for the job and devised a way to evacuate the battalion. If his crew didn’t save them, the men would surely be slaughtered.

Official Coast Guard painting of Signalman Douglas Munro’s last moments while evacuating Marines at Guadalcanal. The painting’s original title was “Douglas A. Munro Covers the Withdrawal of the 7th Marines at Guadalcanal,” and was painted by artist Bernard D’Andrea for the Coast Guard Bicentennial Celebration.

Despite heavy fire from machine guns on the island, Munro directed five of his small craft toward the shore to pick up the Marines who had made it back to the beach. As they closed in, he signaled the other boats to land. They were able to collect up most of the Marines, but some were struggling. In an effort to block them from enemy fire, Munro moved his own boat as a shield between the beachhead and the other boats.

His actions helped the crew of the other boats evacuate the last of the stranded Marines, but it cost Munro his life. He was hit by enemy fire and killed. According to fellow signalman Ray Evans, who enlisted with Munro and was on the boat with him when he died, Munro’s last words were, “Did they get off?” referring to the last of the Marines.

Munro saved hundreds of men who would have otherwise surely died. For his leadership, planning and devotion to the cause, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in May 1943, as well as the Purple Heart.

Munro’s Medal of Honor is on display at the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey, not far from a memorial that’s dedicated to him. The Coast Guard has named two cutters for Munro, too. The most recent, the Coast Guard National Security Cutter Munro, was commissioned in April. The Navy also named a ship in his honor – a destroyer escort that served in World War II and the Korean War.

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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Only Coast Guard Medal of Honor Recipient Saved 500 Marines

Joint Civilian Orientation Conference: An Inside Look at Our Military’s People

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By Marine Sgt. Drew Tech
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Have you ever wondered what military life is really like? Sure you’ve seen a few war movies, but have you ever wished you could get a real inside look at what life is like for the men and women serving in our military?

Well, for the lucky group of Americans who are attending the Secretary of Defense’s Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC) next week, that wish is going to become a reality.

Participants of Joint Civilian Orientation Conference walk the flight line to board a C-2A Greyhound at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Aug. 19, 2016. JCOC increases public understanding of national defense by enabling American business and community leaders to directly observe and engage with the U.S. military. DoD Photo by Marine Sgt. Drew Tech

History of JCOC

So what exactly is JCOC?

Established by Secretary of Defense James V. Forrestal in 1948, JCOC is the oldest and most prestigious public liaison program in the DoD, and is the only outreach program sponsored by the secretary of defense.

James V. Forrestal was appointed as the first United States Secretary of Defense by President Harry S. Truman in 1947. In 1948, Forrestal established what is known today as the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, the oldest and most prestigious public liaison program in the Department of Defense. Navy photo

The initial concept was a quarterly, 10-day course for about 60 participants. The course would complement separate service-level civic leader programs to “present an integrated picture of the military establishment.” It would “deal with national policy, the problems confronting the United States in pursuing its policies, and the economic, political, and military means to carry out that policy.”

As planning progressed, the 10-day JCOC condensed to six days — the original Washington phase was three days. It was decided in January 1952 there would be no repeat participants. Four JCOCs per year became two per year in 1953, and one per year in 1962. Conferences have had participant numbers from 23 to 90.

In 2003, for the first time, the conference traveled to U.S. military installations outside of the United States. Each visit during that period was hosted by a major combatant command and was designed to highlight the capabilities of forward-deployed service members. A redesign of the program was completed in 2010 and resulted in an overall increase in the participants’ actual time with the troops by concentrating visits to military installations within the United States. The program was temporarily halted in 2013 and 2014 due to sequestration spending cuts.

Roger Rocha, Jr., national president for League of United Latin American Citizens, fires the M4 service rifle at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., during Joint Civilian Orientation Conference Aug. 15, 2016. JCOC increases public understanding of national defense by enabling American business and community leaders to directly observe and engage with the U.S. military. DoD Photo by Marine Sgt. Drew Tech

What’s the Mission of JCOC?

The JCOC mission is simple: increase public understanding of national defense by enabling American business and community leaders to directly observe and engage with the U.S. military.

This is achieved through a six-day tour where participants are given the full gamut of military experience. They begin JCOC each year in Washington with a tour of the Pentagon, where participants attend briefings by senior military and civilian officials. From there, the group sets out on a tour of military installations across the continental U.S., visiting one installation from each branch of service, where they gain firsthand experiences through operations and interactions with troops and military leaders.

F. William McNabb, III, right, Chairman and CEO of Vanguard, and Dr. A. Wesley Burks, Executive Dean for the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, talk with Marines at The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., during Joint Civilian Orientation Conference Aug. 15, 2016. JCOC increases public understanding of national defense by enabling American business and community leaders to directly observe and engage with the U.S. military. DoD Photo by Marine Sgt. Drew Tech

Guns, Planes and the People: My Experience with JCOC

I have the pleasure of this being my second year on the JCOC staff. Last year I was assigned to be the military photographer, and I’m excited to say that I’ve been welcomed back, this time to serve as the writer.

It was such an awesome opportunity to meet all of these American leaders and travel with them for a whole week. I’m just a young Marine sergeant, and here I was spending the week with presidents and CEOs of well-known companies and organizations, deans of major universities, you name it. These were all such influential people, and they were all eager to learn about our military and about me! I was eager to learn about them.

Throughout the week, we did all kinds of really cool things that most civilians would typically never get to experience. The group got to fire a variety of weapons with the Army Green Berets and the Marines. We saw and even got to ride in a plethora of different military aircraft and equipment. We even went underway on a Coast Guard cutter and a Navy aircraft carrier. With all the action that we experienced throughout the week — and I didn’t even cover the half of it — every participant I talked to seemed to agree that their favorite part about JCOC wasn’t the exciting hands-on stuff, but rather the people. Getting to interact with and learn about the lives and experiences of our troops was the highlight of their week, and that was truly awesome. That’s what this week is all about, and I certainly shared in their sentiments.

Eric Shanks, president, COO and producer of Fox Sports, converses with a group of airmen about the A-10 Thunderbolt at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., during Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, Aug. 17, 2016. JCOC increases public understanding of national defense by enabling American business and community leaders to directly observe and engage with the U.S. military. DoD Photo by Marine Sgt. Drew Tech

Looking ahead to this year’s conference, I am excited to begin the six-day journey all over again. This should be an awesome week with a lot of great people!

For more information about JCOC, go to http://jcoc.osd.mil/

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Continued: 

Joint Civilian Orientation Conference: An Inside Look at Our Military’s People