Every evening since his home coming from the Army at World War II Mike Cooley comes to Laurel Hill Cemetery to strike the colors the same flag he raises every morning, no matter the weather or the aches and pains of his years. The flag pole is next to the grave of his boyhood friend, Doug. (blasts) August 7, 1942, eight months to the day after the surprise attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor the United Stated launched its first major amphibious assault in the Pacific. The targets, two specks on charts the Solomon Islands, Tulagi and Gaudacanal. Henderson Field, the only existing airbase for hundreds of miles, gave Gaudacanal vital strategic importance and both sides new it. (gun fire) One of those going ashore that day was a 22 year old 1st class signalman of the United States Coast Guard from south Clallam, Washington east of Seattle, Douglas Munro. It was kind of neat. There was only 500 population in South Clallam. And we went to high school in Clallam which was 2500 people So we made lots of friends throughout the years. Everybody was close by. Pat Munro Sheehan is Munro’s sister. After he graduated from high school, Munro went away to college. Doug went off to school, but he only stayed a year because he said he wanted to see the world. So he had pals in various branches of the services who wanted him to come with them. And he checked it all out and he said he was going to join the Coast Guard because he said they save lives. It was at the recruiting office in Seattle in 1939 that Munro’s path crossed that of another young man who would become his best friend and shipmate all the way to Guadacanal. Ray Evans went on to make a career of the Coast Guard and retired a commander in 1962. Came out of high school and looked for a job all summer in 1939 and it was a very poor time for jobs. Went to the Coast Guard and they said they had not taken a recruit in seven years. And that was also the Depression of course. They called me back in September and said, “are you still interested?” We got seven openings.” And I said yes I am. I got to the federal building on September 18th. Doug Munro was there. He was one of the seven and that’s how it started. There was no bootcamp then, so Munro and Evans were quickly assigned to the 327 foot patrol gun boat, USS Spencer. She was being transferred from Alaska to New York. They became signalmen and learned their rates while on weather patrols in the North Atlantic. But it wasn’t all work and no play. Between bouts with his semaphore flags, bunting tosser Munro had time to perfect his body slam technique in this ring on the fantail. In this home movie, he’s the wrestlers wearing dark boots. We were together so much, in those days the soap was called a gold dust twins. They had the twins on the label. And that’s what they called us. They many times couldn’t tell us apart. We didn’t look a like but they would mix us up. The gold dust twins were transferred to the attack transport Hunter Liget, reporting to Coast Guard Commander Dwight Dexter After Pearl Harbor, Dexter received orders to command the naval operating base Guadacanal and Evans volunteered to go with him. Initial landing on the Canal was relatively unopposed. The fiercest fighting would occur later. Munro however went ashore at Tulagi, 20 miles across the channel from Guadacanal. Where the landing was a different a story. Eighty percent of the first wave of Marines were wiped out. The second wave faired little better. He went ashore at Tulagi with the third wave of Marines. The first two were wiped out. He went ashore with the third wave and that was before he went to Guadacanal. And he had to be up on a shelf of rock way up high above the beach. He was establishing ship to shore communications He said he could have dropped a grenade right on the Japanese right below him. He said it would give away his position so he had to lay real quiet. He said it was a very shallow place that he could dig up because it was all hard rock. He said the tracer bullets kept going right over the top of him all night long. He said the Marines were patrolling and he said there was a row of bushes fairly close to him. And every time they go by him they would just spray it from their hip right through those bushes just in case there was anybody there. The next morning they found, I forget whether it was two or three Japanese behind the bushes. So then Commander Dexter sent for him to come to Guadacanal. I don’t know how he got in touch with him. But when their supply ship was sunk and when he arrived at Guadacanal was his khaki shorts boots and carrying a rifle and that’s all they had. Besides the Japanese, there was another enemy that took countless lives. Evans and Munro both fell victim to this enemy. The mosquito If you didn’t take your attermann, you ended up with Malaria. And there was a lot of dysentery and dengue fever It’s jungle. When you got back behind the airfield, into the jungle, it was a mean place. It was a mean place. The place got meaner. Munro and Evans often served as coxswains and crew on landing crafts, taking Marines to various parts of the island. From the beaches the Marines would fight their way into real estate controlled by the Japanese The battalion major came down and I don’t remember his. I don’t think I ever knew his name. Really he talked to Dexter and the next thing I know the commander is telling us, Doug and I that they were going to send this battalion, I guess it was a battalion of Marines to land at Point Cruise. The plan was to surround an enemy force that was dug in on the Mataniko River. Retired Colonel William Shanahan of the U.S. Marine Corps was the second leitenant with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines in September 1942. We got this assignment to land on the other side at Point Cruise on the other side of Mataniko River. And engaged in a three pronged attack. We were coming on the beach another unit was supposed to cross the river just up from the mouth of the river and one was supposed to cross further up and then put the squeeze on the Japanese that were entrenched along the Mataniko River. So they came, we loaded up, I don’t know, 10 or 12 infantry boats and five or six tank lighters. And under covering from a destroyer Ballard made a mini amphibious landing Unfortunately we were supposed to land at the head of the cove and we found a coral would not allow us to do that, so we had to make an abrupt right turn and land on the beach at the side.