The 500 Marines pushed inland. As they reached a ridge about 500 yards from the beach, they were attacked by a large Japanese force. At the same moment, the Monssen was driven off by enemy bombers. The Marines began taking heavy casualties, and the single landing craft, manned by Navy Coxswain Samuel B. Roberts and Coast Guard Petty Officer Ray Evans, valiantly moved in under heavy fire to evacuate the wounded. While embarking the casualties, a machine gun burst parted the rudder cable and damaged the boat's controls. Roberts was able to jury-rig the rudder before he was mortally wounded; Evans then jammed the controls to full ahead and sped back to Lunga Point Base with the wounded Marines, running the damaged craft onto the beach at 20 knots on his arrival.
When he heard that the Marines back at the cove were in grave danger, Munro, who had led the boats in the original landing, assisted by Evans, who had just returned from the cove with the wounded Marines, volunteered to lead the boats back to rescue the others.
As the young Coast Guardsmen returned to the cove, the Japanese fired on them from three strong interlocking positions, causing a number of casualties. Despite the danger, Munro and Evans provided covering fire from an exposed position while the Marines made their way to the beach.
Despite murderous fire from the ridges, Munro then maneuvered his boat between the enemy and the Marines, shielding them as they made their escape.
With the Marines safely on board, the boats withdrew. But as they passed Point Cruz, they saw an LCT full of Marines grounded on the beach. Munro steered his craft in to assist, and soon had the stranded LCT free and heading to sea. Before they could get far from shore, however, a Japanese machine gun fired at the boats and hit Munro in the base of the skull. He died before reaching the operating base.
It was a day of extraordinary heroism in which a Navy Sailor and two Coast Guardsmen ensured that many Marines would live to ultimately prevail at Guadalcanal. Coast Guard Petty Officer Douglas Munro was awarded the Medal of Honor, the first ever awarded to a member of that service. Navy Petty Officer Samuel B. Roberts and Coast Guard Petty Officer Ray Evans each received the Navy Cross.