Can you believe it? This was such a rare occasion, an interview with the Former Station Munro COs and the Current one, and not only that but a surprise visit from the former XO of Station Munro.
Why don’t we pop into the Officer’s Club where the scene unfolds? The story is told here, the laughter and memories shared in a very informal setting, but it was so much fun, and a lot was learned. Join me in the interview, pull up a chair, take a seat, relax, this is your time to enjoy while you read the history of Munro’s making.
Asa Darkbyrd: So, this is an interview for the SLCG Magazine, September edition covering Munro, it’s life, history, and the up and coming celebration.
I really and absolutely appreciate you guys coming and being a part of this.
Adili Roge: smiles, it is a pleasure and honor
Asa Darkbyrd: Who wants to start off and talk about the founding of Station Munro, and why was it started? It’s an open session, so please feel free to speak.
Shadow McConach – Utzon: We appreciate you doing this for us!
Asa Darkbyrd: Thank you, I love it, absolutely love it, lol.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: July 27, 2010, Munro began in the old Flying Tigers sims Allian Blackwell was a crewmember there. Thorn Blackflag was CO of the original Munro. Munro was closed on December 2, 2012, because the Flying Tigers sims that hosted it were closing, and no other home could be found for Munro, so it had to close.
Asa Darkbyrd: Okay, so they closed the original Munro because the Flying Tigers Sim closed?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Yes
Asa Darkbyrd: So why did they start it initially? What was the purpose of the first one?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: I have a copy of the memo written by Thorn on its closure
Asa Darkbyrd: Oh, wow okay
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Munro was first activated on July 27, 2010, to provide a US Coast Guard theme role-play for the Flying Tigers sims. The Flying Tigers sims were World War II role-playing groups.
Asa Darkbyrd: So, who took the initiative to reopen it?
Adili Roge: Were they a stand-alone or here in the Gulf?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Flying Tiger sims were stand-alone; I don’t think they were on the mainland. The Commandant was a crewmember of the old Munro in those days.
Asa Darkbyrd: How many crew members were a part of the original crew?
Adili Roge: The Commandant and Shadow were in the same graduating class, I think, right, Shadow? You were SRs together?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: I don’t know how many crew there were in the old unit, the Commandant may remember, but it probably varied.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Ah yes, that’s from G. I’ve spoken to G. There’s still a Flying Tigers group around, its leaders are some of the original people there. They helped with our Pearl Harbor event last year. I have a link to the old Flying Tigers blog, with entries from 2012. I’m trying to find the posts that mention Allian and Thorn
Adili Roge: GREAT!
Asa Darkbyrd: I would love to see that.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Commandant was the first recipient of the Munro Ribbon
That post mentions the Commandant, at the original Munro. Every crew member had to be a member of the Flying Tigers group and had to train with the Flying Tigers to serve at Munro.
This last link mentions Thorn, the first CO; it also says a current Munro crewmember, Gokyu.
Asa Darkbyrd: Who put the idea back on the drawing board to restart Munro?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: He was not at the old Munro at the time. Restarting Munro. One of our former admirals, Langen, used to play WW2 here in the Gulf, and he heard that there used to be an old Station Munro. So Langen asked for permission to restart Munro here in the Gulf. By that time, Thorn Blackflag was Commandant, and so, of course, he approved Langen asked me to help him reopen Munro. We were in sim Edgemont at the time, that was summer 2016
Asa Darkbyrd: Then you were the 1st CO of the reborn Munro, Sir?
Adili Roge whispers: wow, only 4 years ago. I thought it had been around longer.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Yes & Yes
Asa Darkbyrd: What sort of activities did you host at that time?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Langen and I set up Munro in summer 2016, and in the early fall of that year, we wrote the check rides for all the boats. At the time, we were new, we did a lot of drilling… practicing formation cruising, and getting used to the ships. At that time, we only had two boats and two planes.
Asa Darkbyrd: You had a particular set of aircraft and boats made for the Munro SLCG? Or was it original to the first Munro?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: We did a couple battles, but we were new, and we had to earn respect from the combat players in the Gulf.
Adili Roge: now we have 4 boats, a few landing craft, and a DUKW and 3 planes MTB. Fairmile, Wroco, and WPB.
Fitzwilliam Darc: I thought it was more… WPB, Wroco, PT boat, LRRC, and the two landing crafts.
Adili Roge: Yes, the two-landing craft too.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: You using the MTB again? I remember I decommissioned it last year.
Asa Darkbyrd: Oh wow, so the transportation fleet grew then?
Adili Roge: I did not know it was decommissioned.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: One of our boats is the same boat that Douglas Munro (one of the station’s namesakes) used in WWII.
Adili Roge: I found it in my inventory yesterday, lol. Okay, I will take that off my list.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: The MTB, it’s pretty but too high in LI. The creator of it was our old landlord.
Asa Darkbyrd: Oh, I would love to have a photo of these for the article, that would be beautiful, and I am sure the readers would love to see it.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Of the boats?
Asa Darkbyrd: And planes.
Adili Roge: We can take them all out for you after here
Fitzwilliam Darcy: The planes are here on the runway
Asa Darkbyrd: Especially the decommissioned ones.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: We have had the WPB since we restarted in 2016
Asa Darkbyrd: But we can do that after the interview lol I really love this talk.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: We decommissioned one plane since 2016
Adili Roge: The Kingfisher, right?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Yes. It was used at the old Munro, but it’s ancient, lol.
Adili Roge: I have been reading up on things for next month
Asa Darkbyrd: Who was the next CO of Munro after you, Sir?
Adili Roge: someone told me it flew like a brick hehe.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: I retired in March of this year, and Adili became CO
Adili Roge: yes
Fitzwilliam Darcy: It does Adili, I have it, lol.
Adili Roge: And I only had Munro for about a month, or two, then had some RL issues and had to leave. So then Shadow took over as CO.
Asa Darkbyrd: Yes, you were CO when I was an SR about close to 6 months ago. So what made you decide you wanted to take over being CO of Munro?
Adili Roge: Yes, I had several reasons. 1. I have always said I would support Munro no matter what, since I first saw the memorial in 2019. And also, I wanted to keep Munro alive. My respect for all that, Capt. Darcy did for Munro over the years inspired me to step up and take the helm and keep it running. I love training people, so there is a lot of that here. We have our own instructors, our own uniforms, our own medics called Corpsmen, and lots to train for.
Asa Darkbyrd: I love that; it’s beautiful.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Do you guys still train Retrievers?
Asa Darkbyrd: What is a retriever?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: It was an idea we tried out a while ago. Basically, an early form of a rescue swimmer, based on something the USCG did in WWII.
Adili Roge: We do some times. Our Corpsman jumps in when we need one.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: I hope you’ve been able to do better than I could with it… it was hard getting them in and out in a quick period
Asa Darkbyrd: In what capacity do you still play in Munro, ma’am? LOL, Sir, sometimes we walk like we have brick shoes
Adili Roge: We also started using wind direction in our drills, so the survivor is protected from the wind. Yes! We do it when there is a bad injury where they need help; the Corpsman jumps in and renders some 1st aid in the water and helps them to the boat and works on them in the back.
I help Shadow with the transition to Munro CO as much as I can, and as a Yeoman to the ACoS G4, I build things for her events too.
(Interjection: While we were having our talking, we were treated to the appearance of Lacie Python (kitty. nova); the former XO of Station Munro, here is her intro.)
Asa Darkbyrd: So welcome to the interview, ma’am. I appreciate you coming; we’ve all been kind of just talking back and forth. We’ve been discussing Munro’s history, the founders of Munro, the purpose, the grits, and gravy, in other words, lol.
Lacie Python: Glad I could make it, that’s what we like to talk about here.
Asa Darkbyrd: I was just talking to MCPO Adili about her role that continues today in Munro.
Lacie Python: Adili is a workhorse.
Asa Darkbyrd: I absolutely agree, she really does a lot for SLCG.
Adili Roge: giggles
Shadow McConach – Utzon: Thank goodness.
Adili Roge: I confess, I like to keep busy, hehe.
Asa Darkbyrd: And I know she has a love for Munro. Oh, I’m the same way, I hate being idle or I go shopping.
Adili Roge: yes
Lacie Python: Munro is a woman you can’t help but love
Adili Roge: I do
Fitzwilliam Darcy: I will forever love Munro. She was always my baby lol.
Adili Roge: well said
Lacie Python: Don’t we know it
Asa Darkbyrd: I absolutely love the sentiment, and you are right; you cannot step foot in Munro without falling in love. It has a particular atmosphere that makes you want to stay. It could be all the love, time, and attention that has been put into making it grow.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Have you seen the memorial?
Asa Darkbyrd: Is that the one that the Darcy one that was in the corner of the officer structure?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Oh no, the memorial to Darcy? No.
Asa Darkbyrd: Oh, wait, ROFL, my bad, lol.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Mr. Darcy doesn’t like memorials to himself lol
Laughs, oh my gosh, lol.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Can we make a stop at the memorial sometime tonight? We have 12,000 crosses.
Adili Roge: Munro is a labor of love, and every person ever stationed in Munro, regardless of the location have added to the betterment of this place
oh my gosh, wow. So tell me about your experiences, ma’am.
Lacie Python: Anything specific you’d like to know?
Asa Darkbyrd: LT Lacie, is it?
Lacie Python: My career was short, but there was a lot accomplished. Yes.
Asa Darkbyrd: Well, it seems that you have a lot of history in Munro; what are your views on the station’s beginnings and your fondest memories you participated in.
Adili Roge whispers: I was wondering because CPO Shadow kicked me under the bar hehe.
Asa Darkbyrd: Sorry, I know we’re jumping around in the conversation. Still, I love getting all of you to talk to me. I really love listening to you all talk together, bringing up the beautiful memories, which paints a picture of what Munro was and is today. Lol. maybe she thought it was the rat under the bar
Adili Rogewhispers: ooooo meat tonight giggles
Asa Darkbyrd: rofl eewww
Lacie Python: Munro has its own history and is a historical station the way it is. Not a standard SLCG station stands out from the rest. I looked at it as a way to bring meaning to what we are doing here. I was impressed by CAPT Darcy’s devotion to it, and it attracted me to the mission here. You can’t be here without falling in love, so my desire to join was immediate. As for my fondest memories, I’d say working on the memorial project and doing the first rescue on the DUKW during a drill and winding up firmly lodged under a dock. I always had a unique way of landing. I guess working with the crew overall was the best because they really came and conquered every time. They are the real champions of Munro week after week doing what we do best: getting people rescued.
Asa Darkbyrd: oh wow, that’s funny. Lol. So how long were you XO of Munro, ma’am?
Lacie Python: April to September of 2019. I had to step down to take the CO position at NHZ; I was doing XO simultaneously.
Asa Darkbyrd: oh, okay, so you are the CO at NHZ? Great to know, thank you.
Lacie Python: yes 🙂
Asa Darkbyrd: What about you, CPO Shadow, where did you come into Munro to take over as CO? (She snuck out on me, lol)
What made you want to do it? What has been your fondest memories of Munro, Captain Fitz?
Adili Roge: but she joined Munro right after I did. She was made CO on graduation day. (I am trying to remember which month) and that is the same day that was my last day in SL. I was LOA for a month.
Asa Darkbyrd: Yes, I remember that. Poof … Gone O.o. I think aliens abducted you for a little bit, lol.
Adili Roge: and I had no XO, so for Munro to stay open and active, we needed a CO, and Shadow stepped up to the plate. Shes back.
Shadow McConach – Utzon: Back, I have a 15 yo black lab who HAD to g!
Asa Darkbyrd: lol aaawwwww furry babies, wb.
Adili Roge: WB
Shadow McConach – Utzon: Sorry, didn’t mean to body slam the two of you.
Adili Roge: Perfect timing too.
Asa Darkbyrd: Tell me about you becoming one of the COs CPO Shadow, lol
Adili Roge: hehehe
Asa Darkbyrd: That’s okay. I have a few drinks, so we’re good didn’t feel a thing. (Shadow Served the Drinks)
Shadow McConach – Utzon: Well, as you can imagine, there are some huge shoes to fill. I know that I can’t do them justice, but I CAN and WILL preserve what they have done.
Asa Darkbyrd: Oh yes, even I can see that, lol, you have quite a history of outstanding leadership. I am sure you will fit right in and continue its legacy.
Shadow McConach – Utzon: That is my mission to hold what they have done, as the gold standard and keep it untarnished.
Asa Darkbyrd: I think that’s great, so what are you bringing to the table to keep the mission going here at Munro? What have you been doing here so far in your role as the new CO?
Shadow McConach – Utzon: I am still trying to find my way, it is not your standard station, so everything is brand new.
Lacie Python: You will find your stride, don’t be afraid to ask for help either if you need it from me.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Honestly, I never thought of Munro as a station.
Asa Darkbyrd: Oh yes, I think you have a fantastic line of resources to pull from sitting right here at the table.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: I felt it was a living museum.
Adili Roge: mmhmm.
Shadow McConach – Utzon: but, my first impressions of Munro were the Memorial, which just stops you in your tracks, and of Capt Fitz.
Adili Roge: it is a lot more work than most think. For one thing, your crew is 46 people, and most have a unit of 6.
Asa Darkbyrd: Oh, wow, I didn’t know that.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Munro is more a living museum than a station too.
Lacie Python: it has its own training programs within it.
Adili Roge: Yes, Sir, true.
Lacie Python: So, it’s a microcosm version of SLCG.
Shadow McConach – Utzon: Whenever I saw him, he was in the boat uniform… a heavy jacket, the olive pants, and a helmet.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: No other stations have their own training, boats, planes, memorial, medical, etc.
Lacie Python: It is a demanding thing to do and to remain historically accurate.
Adili Roge: right
Asa Darkbyrd: I think all of you do and have done such an incredible job here at Munro Station.
I notice a LOT of activities that come over the group announcements, which is really great to see. I’m sure it takes a lot of time and energy to keep it going and interesting for 46 members. What have you all found your most challenging time in Munro as leadership?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: I have something for that.
Asa Darkbyrd: Okay, Sir please go right on ahead.
Adili Roge: The first month, actually! hehehe I was AMAZED at how hard it was to do it all and to get up to speed with the other Alliances in the Gulf.
Asa Darkbyrd: In what way?
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Some people joined Munro because they wanted to shoot weapons. The ones dedicated to Munro stuck around because they saw Munro for the history or for the memorial. The ones that joined thinking they could shoot things never last long. And honestly, that’s how I preferred it when I was CO,
Asa Darkbyrd: lol
Adili Roge: we are not a combat group
Fitzwilliam Darcy: I met SLCG’s founder, ADM Laxness, in a meeting in 2016. I gave him my word Munro would not be a combat group.
He didn’t like the idea of VICE in the SL Coast Guard.
Asa Darkbyrd: I actually did not know you guys did Combat at all. It was news to me.
Adili Roge: We defend ourselves but are never the aggressor, and if they break off their attack on us, we stop and do not pursue.
Asa Darkbyrd: That’s very interesting.
Fitzwilliam: Another problematic part of leading Munro is the public image. Years ago, the Gulf community targeted us on our drills because we were new.
Adili Roge: Yes.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Now, they’ve seen us around, and they respect us
I got to know the leading people in the combat community here in the Gulf, and they got to respect Munro. A few of them even customized the boats we use for us.
Asa Darkbyrd: Oh wow, that is really generous of them.
Adili Roge: they attacked us every time we went out, sinking our plywood boats.
Asa Darkbyrd: I’m sorry, but it is a funny picture.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Our DUKW, the Fairmile, the LCPR boat… those are all publicly available, but the creators added things for Munro when we asked because we earned their respect. Lol, back in the old days of 2016, when we were getting started here, they would sit outside our station waiting to attack us when we came out lol.
Asa Darkbyrd: I think that is really neat. Omg lol, I’m sure that was instead a surprise.
Lacie Python: It’s all figuring out a hierarchy, and SLCG didn’t always have the best rep with those communities, either
Fitzwilliam Darcy: But as I said, we’ve been here for four years, they respect us now.
Shadow McConach – Utzon: We have a great working relationship with =NAS= . We pick up their pilots, that crash during their drills. They let us train with VICE during their drills.
Lacie Python: But that’s what makes Munro important.
Asa Darkbyrd: I think it is great that you have all entwined into the community and solidified yourselves with the other groups. So, what other challenges have you all faced as leadership?
Lacie Python: Senior chief had started.
Adili Roge: okay, well, the crew is 46 but not all at once. It is pretty much a different crew for each drill. The regulars, of course, and then others that come and go. The unit is required to do one drill a month, so it varies. That makes it difficult because you do a drill on Sunday and cannot continue the same training on Monday. You have to start over, so each drill is a new one with new people. That is one thing I found challenging.
Asa Darkbyrd: I guess there are a lot from all the different time zones in Munro. It can be very challenging in a regular station to deal with that.
Adili Roge: Yes, we are a worldwide station with people from all over to include Australia, which is 17 hours ahead of SL UK for 8 hours.
Asa Darkbyrd: So, what about you as an XO LT Lacie? I’m sure your challenges have been different. What have they been that you have had the task of dealing with?
Lacie Python: Well, when I was made XO, the XO position had never existed at Munro. There was a need for it, but it just hadn’t happened until now. So the most significant issue was learning as we went. Fitz had to figure out my job since it’s much different from a regular XO position. There is more to the job; it can be more complicated, which means not just a single monthly report and dealing with recruits but dealing with ALL of the station crew.
As you know, it is far greater than your average station. And then you have my own personal debacle, which was people being in incorrect uniforms. Being over personnel means you’re ensuring everyone represents in their best for both Munro and SLCG.
It was a headbutting issue more than anything. But I think we understand that Munro has to have higher standards than the rest of SLCG. We are the primary liaison between other RP groups in this region, and it’s imperative we maintain those relationships.
Adili Roge: I think the most challenging part of Command at Munro is getting up to speed. It is a fast-paced station because there are so very many things that must be down. There is a LOT of PR work with the other groups and learning their ways and talking with them to find out what they are doing. The coordinating things so we can support them in their missions as well. Understanding what is expected of us in their RPs and the list goes on and on.
Shadow McConach – Utzon: I see my challenges as being how to keep Munro’s spirit intact. We know that Capt Darcy is the heartbeat of Munro and keeping an influx of new crew members. We have had four new members and one returning since I took over.
Adili Roge: scheduling training is hard, too, with so many time zones hehe. I mean scheduling Check rides and such.
[18:46] Lacie Python (kitty.nova): Agree to disagree even with my inability to be impartial, but Munro’s heartbeat is absolutely the crew.
Shadow McConach – Utzon: I would like to build up the numbers a little because, with more people at drills, you have more options.
Asa Darkbyrd: Speaking of more options, what plans are in the making for Munro? Now that you’re CO, CPO Shadow?
Adili Roge: And our number of participants have dwindled with COVID for some reason.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Summer attendance has always been difficult, too, though.
Adili Roge: At one time when Capt. Darcy was CO, there was a hiring freeze for Munro as too many people were joining. There was a waiting list. Yes, true.
Lacie Python: Summers always have lower participation in Munro. But people are sick and dying at the moment, so it would make sense.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Yes, I didn’t like doing it, though. However, spending quality time with each new person and getting them ready is challenging, and I never wanted to rush it.
Adili Roge: mmhmm. I know, Sir. It was necessary but challenging too.
Shadow McConach – Utzon: We have discussed next month. I will give you an NC with some information. We will be marking three significant anniversaries. The Japanese surrender, ending WWII, another is the signing of the final peace treaty that ended WWII. Finally, the 10th anniversary of Station Munro.
Adili Roge: Yes, it does take a lot of time with each person that joins there is a lot to learn
Asa Darkbyrd: Are you still a part of Munro, you two? Referring to LT Lacie and Captain Fitz?
Lacie Python: Yes, I’m still on board as an instructor for DUKW and WPB, and while it hasn’t been requested of me, I was the WPB Fleet OIC
Adili Roge: it is several days ma’am
Fitzwilliam Darcy: I’m retired, but Munro is still my baby, and I’m ready to help when I can
Shadow McConach – Utzon: I did start an induction of new people. Upon acceptance into Munro, they must spend a half-hour with me, where I give them a complete tour, get their uniforms and radio, and discuss the station’s values. This way, I know that everyone is starting with the same information.
Lacie Python: That’s the standard
Fitzwilliam Darcy: The tour was one of my favorite things to do for new crew.
Asa Darkbyrd: That sounds exciting. I am looking forward to this lol.
Adili Roge: Captain Darcy is an inspiration to us all, and he helps when we ask. We are very fortunate to have that opportunity to have his expertise when we need it.
Shadow McConach – Utzon: No worries, I must have missed that in my “lost-ness” in my first month.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: I must disagree, respectfully. The spirit of Munro is an inspiration. Our namesakes, Douglas and Edith, are the inspiration.
Asa Darkbyrd: I agree, and it keeps the station in check as far as its authenticity staying true to its original function. Any last thoughts any of you want to add to the interview before I close it out and take these pictures?
Adili Roge: I think Munro, Douglas, and Edith and everyone here are the inspiration of Munro. SO, I guess you could say, Munro is unique to each of us in our own ways. But yes, Sir, you are right too.
Fitzwilliam Darcy: I have one last thought. When I did tours for a new crew, I always ended it at the memorial. And as such, I would like to end this interview there before taking pictures. Last year, we took part in a big D-Day reenactment, along with other groups. The entire Gulf was there. The organizers asked us to recreate our memorial there, so that’s what Lacie and I did. Adili helped with straightening them up for the D-Day memorial as well.
Adili Roge: I agree, Sir.
And there you have it avid readers, how did it feel to be that “Fly on the wall?” to listen to the amazing conversations that went on in the walls of the officer’s club. I really enjoyed doing the interview, and I am very appreciative to the participants for spending a lot of hours with me, but they seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.
Well, this is your roving reporter signing off once again, wishing you all a happy and healthy day or evening,
PO1 Asa Darkbyrd