Notable People

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Rear Admiral William H. Munter


Rear Admiral William H. Munter, U.S. Coast Guard retired veteran of two World Wars and a Legion of Merit Legionnaire died of heart failure on July 10, 1957 at Seattle, Washington.  He was 77 and had just previously entered the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital there for examination.

Services for Rear Admiral Munter were held at 3 P.M. (PST) on July 12th at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church of Seattle, followed by cremation.  Plans for interment have not been decided to date (July 16, 1957).

Rear Admiral is survived by his widow Mrs. Hazel Maud Hoffman Munter and daughter Mrs. Barbara M. Purdue.  Mrs. Munter has requested that remembrances be made to the Seattle Orthopedic Hospital.

Rear Admiral Munter was a native of Baltimore, Maryland, where he was born on March 2, 1880.  He made his permanent home at Seattle where he retired on April 1, 1944.  At 64 then he had served more than 44 years as an officer and was one of the principal builders of a modern U.S. Coast Guard.

He was appointed a cadet in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service (forerunner of the Coast Guard) on August 7, 1899 and was commissioned an Ensign on December 30, 1901.  Subsequently he rose in rank as follows:  Lieutenant, USRCS, October 15, 1908; Lieut. Commander, USCG, October 8, 1918; Commander, May 9, 1924; Captain, October 15, 1929; Rear Admiral on his retirement with rank from April 1, 1940.

From 1901 until 1916 he served in various Revenue Cutters patrolling in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf, Hawaiian and Alaskan waters, and taught aboard the School of Instruction Cutter Itasca at the cadet winter quarters at Arundel Cove, Maryland.  (This was the cadets' home before the school was moved to New London in 1910 at Fort Trumbull and before the present Academy was erected in 1929.)

The first ship he commanded was the Cutter Ossipee from October 1916 to October 1919 of World War I.  He was awarded the Navy Cross for distinguished service during this time when the cutter was serving with the Patrol Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, transporting troops and supplies to European ports.

He next served at the Coast Guard Depot, South Baltimore, Maryland, after which he attended the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, and in June 1922 became commanding officer of the Cutter Acushnet stationed at Woods Hole, Mass.  He then commanded the Cutter Apache at Baltimore.

In August 1924 he became commanding officer of the newly commissioned Destroyer Cassin and simultaneously became the first officer of the Coast Guard to command a fleet of destroyers which became known as the Destroyer Force of New London.  This was the first time the Coast Guard put vessels of this type into operation.  In July 1925 he assumed command of the New London Patrol Area which he organized and administered.

In October 1926 he became commanding officer of the Cutter Modoc at Wilmington, N.C., and senior commanding officer of vessels allocated to Ice Patrol duty.  He was commander of the International Ice Patrol for the season of 1928.

From February 1929 to June 1930 he served as Commander, Section Base 2, Stapleton, S.I., N.Y.  He then transferred to Boston to become Commander of the Eastern Division and later upon reorganizing of districts he was known as Commander, Boston Division.

From April 1934 to October 1935 he served as Commander, Jacksonville Division, Florida, and also as coordinator for Federal Anti-smuggling Activities in the states of North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.  He then served as Chairman of the Permanent Board at Coast Guard Headquarters at Washington, D.C., for three years.

In September 1938 he assumed command of the Seattle Division and later was given the additional duties of District Captain-of-the-Port on the staff of the Commander, 13th Naval District.  In April 1942 he became District Coast Guard Officer of the Northwestern Section of the 13th Naval District, which he held until his retirement on April 1, 1944.  He received after retirement a citation from the President and was awarded the Legion of Merit for outstanding services during his last assignment in which he was credited with establishing and maintaining superbly trained and equipped port security organizations which were vital aids to the successful prosecution of the war.

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