Ronald Dale Pate
United States Marine Corps
Charleston Heights, South Carolina
March 10, 1948 to February 05, 1970
RONALD D PATE is on the Wall at Panel W14, Line 104

Ronald D Pate
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25 Dec 1998


by his nephew,

27 Dec 2004

Ronald Pate was a good, hard-working and gentle guy. He and I landed at DaNang airbase on the same Continental Airlines plane and were assigned to Electronics Company, Maintenance Battalion, 1st FSR, then located in a compound at the "Dogpatch" in the Four Corners area.

He died needlessly and as the result of a hate crime. The Marine who killed him stated that he did it because he knew a bunch of white guys would be at the club to see the Australian floor show that night, so he saw a chance to kill a bunch of us at once.

It is my understanding from keeping a close eye on the proceedings after I returned to CONUS that one of the Marines accused of actually tossing the grenade was acquitted thus: "not guilty by reason of insanity". He may have been a crazy bastard, but he still should have been punished, preferably by execution.

From a brother-in-arms,
Terry Michael Hacker
former SSgt, USMC
Maint Bn, 1st FSR, FLC Viet Nam 1969-70

13 Jul 2006

I worked in the Battalion S-3/S-4 Special Services - the gym with the parachutes and weights. I got to meet a lot of the Marines in our unit but we all got together in one place that was safe at least in our minds, the EM Club. We all talked about the floor show and tried to get the best seats for it. I was seated at the first row of tables. No-one thought of an attack by fellow Marines but just ran back and picked up weapons and headed for the fence line. Ron was an easy-going man who would tell you a joke or buy you a soda and just B.S. with you. I followed what happened ... only one person went to jail but we lost one and had 62 hurt. WHY hate in their own eyes, I try to live my life today in hope that those that can't are proud of the things I do, always keeping them in mind. God bless them and their families and Semper Fi, brother.

I now have a new Marine in my life - my son just joined the Coprs.

From a friend,
Larry Walpole
Sgt S-3 / S-4

06 Nov 2006

I served in Electronics Maintenance Company, First Force Service Support Group, basically the same unit as Ronald Pate, from 1998-2003. Even to this day, what happened that day is talked about. I pray that Ronald Pate's family finds comfort and peace. Semper Fidelis!

Corporal David Everett,USMC
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Hemingway, Sc


A Note from The Virtual Wall

Corporal Ronald Pate's casualty record is coded as "C1-U-7", which translates to "Non-hostile, Died Of Other Causes - Other Accident - Ground Casualty", but the record is misleading.

Cosmas and Murray, writing in U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1970-71, p. 364, say

"FLC [Force Logistic Command] suffered the most costly single fragging of the year on the night of 5 February, when a Marine tossed a grenade into the crowded patio of the Maintenance Battalion enlisted men's club. The resulting explosion killed one Marine and wounded 62."
The dead Marine was Corporal Pate, characterized by one friend as "a nice guy, soft spoken and wouldn't hurt a fly. He wasn't flashy like some, just a likeable ordinary guy with a down-home attitude".

Another friend objects to the "Non-hostile - other accident" classifications, saying

"I think a frag grenade over the wall at the EM club by a fellow Marine, because of hatred, would constitute hostile action! He did not die in an accident, but from an excess of hatred."
Although the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) eventually arrested four enlisted Marines in the Maintenance Battalion fragging, Marine courts-martial acquitted all four defendants.

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