USS Gillis (AVD-12) tending Higgins type motor torpedo boats (PTs) of Motor Torpedo Squadron 13, in Casco Cove, Massacre Bay, Attu Island, Aleutians, 21 June 1943. Note the PBY Catalina flying boat astern of Gillis.
Some of the first American soldiers to attack the German defenses in Higgins Boats (LCVPs) approach Omaha Beach near Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. Plastic covers protect the soldier’s weapons against from the water. (Photo by Robert F. Sargent, U.S. Coast Guard/Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
Is he on Crete, fighting German paratroopers?
Is he in a Higgins boat, landing at Omaha Beach?
Is he in a Spitfire, fighting the Germans during the Battle of Britain?
Is he in a B-17 Flying Fortress?
Is he helping the Polish take Monte Cassino?
Is he fighting in the Battle of Stalingrad?
Is he in the Maori Battalion at Second Alamein?
Or perhaps he’s on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier!
Where, oh where, could Waldo possibly be?
“Douglas A. Munro Covers the Withdrawal of the 7th Marines at Guadalcanal” by Bernard D’Andrea
On September 27, 1942 Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro was in charge of ten boats assigned to land Marines ashore on Guadalcanal near the Matanikau River. The landing was successful and Munro moved his boats to a previously determined rally point. Upon reaching the rally point, Munro was informed the Marines ashore had come up against an enemy force larger than expected and were in dire need of evacuation or they would be killed. Munro did not hesitate to volunteer for the mission. Munro brought his boats right up to the beach under heavy enemy fire and proceeded to evacuated the Marines. As the Marines reached the boats, Munro realized the last men off the beach would be in danger without cover, so the Guardsman maneuvered his boats so they could provide cover for the Marines, Munro manning one of the guns. It was during this time that Munro received a fatal wound. Reportedly, he remained conscious long enough for his last words to be “Are they off?”
Munro was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions. The citation reads:
“For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of a group of Higgins boats, engaged in the evacuation of a Battalion of Marines trapped by enemy Japanese forces at Point Cruz, Guadalcanal, on September 27, 1942. After making preliminary plans for the evacuation of nearly 500 beleaguered Marines, Munro, under constant risk of his life, daringly led five of his small craft toward the shore. As he closed with the beach, he signaled the others to land, and then in order to draw the enemy’s fire and protect the heavily loaded boats, he valiantly placed his craft with its two small guns as a shield between the beachhead and the Japanese. When the perilous task of evacuation was nearly completed, Munro was killed by enemy fire, but his crew, two of whom were wounded, carried on until the last boat had loaded and cleared the beach. By his outstanding leadership, expert planning, and dauntless devotion to duty, he and his courageous comrades undoubtedly saved the lives of many who otherwise would have perished. He gallantly gave up his life in defense of his country.”
The first wave of U.S. Infantrymen leave their higgins boats and race through the surf for the beach during the invasion of Wakde Island, Dutch New Guinea during World War II. (AP Photo/U.S. Army Signal Corps)
Some of the first American soldiers to attack the German defenses in Higgins Boats (LCVPs) approach Omaha Beach near Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. Plastic covers protect the soldier’s weapons against from the water.
(Photo by Robert F. Sargent, U.S. Coast Guard/Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
An Immersive Exhibit of D-Day and the Normandy Landings
“D-Day and the Normandy Invasion” is an exhibit in the Google Cultural Institute that explores wartime photos, moving pictures, audio, and documents from the largest amphibious invasion in history.
Declassified cables, reports, and maps that were critical in planning the invasion are set against high resolution photos taken by combat photographers. The exhibit features over forty multi-media items including:
The military conclusion signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin to choreograph a “cover plan to mystify and mislead the enemy…”
The patent for the strategically important “Higgins” boat that would transport military equipment to the beaches.
The audio recording of General Eisenhower delivering his “Order of the Day” for Allied Forces.
U.S. Navy sailor removes securing lines and clamps in preparation for launching a Mark XIII torpedo from a Higgins-class motor torpedo boat operating from the Subchaser Training Center, Miami, Florida, circa 1944. He is wearing bathing trunks, life jacket and steel helmet.
May 1944: The first wave of U.S. Infantrymen leave their higgins boats and race through the surf for the beach during the invasion of Wakde Island, Dutch New Guinea during World War II. (AP Photo/U.S. Army Signal Corps