Lyle Scott Tate
United States Marine Corps
Portland, Oregon
November 05, 1946 to May 09, 1967
LYLE S TATE is on the Wall at Panel 19E, Line 75

Combat Action Ribbon
Lyle S Tate
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05 Jan 2008

I met Corporal Lyle Scott Tate in August 1966 when we were attached to Golf Co 2nd Bn 3rd Marines north of Dia Loc, some 20 miles south of DaNang. We were then transferred to Hill 65 west of Dia Loc and attached to Fox Co. They put me into an 81mm mortar section and Lyle into one of the platoons. We stayed for 3 months prior to going to the DMZ. Throughout those months and up to April of 1967 I talked to Lyle on several occasions and we become friends. Then came the battle at Khe Sanh.

From April 27th to May 9th 1967 all the companies of 2/3 had major severe battles with NVA. We saw it all and casualites were high. On May 9th Fox Co got into a very bad engagement with an NVA unit. Casualties were adding up extremely high and Fox Co needed help. Echo Co rescued them led by LT James Cannon. A couple days later the whole Battalion was relieved by the 26th Marines and we were taken back to the airstrip at Khe Sanh. It was then when I found out that my friend Lyle was killed. The news put me into a very sad and disheartened mood and at that time I truly realized that I was in a real war. We knew then that the enemy needed not to be taken for granted anymore. It was either kill or be killed. It was then that I changed into a raging animal, and I wanted to kill 'em all.

Thirty five years later at a 2/3 reunion I met Lyle's CO, Lt Patrick G Carrol. He told that Lyle died in his arms from a bullet wound under his arm pit which severed an artery. Lt Carrol tried to stop the bleeding but couldn't and was wounded three times while he laid there with Lyle. Lyle bled to death.

When I look at the 5 pictures I have of Lyle all I think about is how horrible Vietnam was. I will not forget you, Lyle, and I miss you, but someday we'll meet again.

Semper Fi.

From a fellow Marine,
Fred Hellmann


A Note from The Virtual Wall

The Khe Sanh Combat Base sat in a valley just south of the western end of the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Vietnam, and was overlooked by peaks rising as high as 2500 feet to the north, west, and southwest. The infamous "Hill Fights" in and on the mountains surrounding the combat base began in early 1967 and eventually grew into the seige of the combat base in 1968. The fighting in the spring of 1967 had two diametrically opposed objectives:
  • For the North Vietnamese Army, the objective was to gain control of the hilltops in order to place the defenders under seige and inflict a defeat on the Americans which would stand with the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu fifteen years earlier.

  • For the Allies, the objective was to prevent the NVA from accomplishing their objective while inflicting as much destruction on the NVA as possible.
On 09 May 1967 elements of Fox Company, 2/3 Marines, were patrolling to the west of Khe Sanh, moving from Hill 881N toward Hill 778. As the Marines approached Hill 778, heavy underbrush forced them to divert from their intended track into a gulley. Rather than remain in the lower ground, Fox 2/3 climbed the southern slope toward higher ground, where they were engaged by NVA troops intent on crossing the gulley from south to north.

The meeting engagement on the hillside quickly grew into a full-fledged battle fought in difficult terrain largely covered in six-foot-tall elephant grass. By the time the fight ended, Fox 2/3 had lost 22 Marines and 2 Navy Corpsmen, with many more wounded - and the NVA had withdrawn back into the jungles and tall grasses.

With one exception the Marines of Fox 2/3 brought out their dead and wounded: the body of Private Robert J Todd could not be found in the elephant grass. The dead were

  • GySgt Tommie J. Whitten, Fort Worth, TX
  • Sgt Gregory M. McCook, Atlanta, GA
  • HM2 Gardner Tillson, Salem, MA
  • Cpl Daniel S. Bettencourt, Edgartown, MA
  • Cpl Morris F. Dixon, Clearwater, FL
  • Cpl David F. Fraley, Cincinnati, OH
  • HM3 Kenneth L. Holder, Mount Wolf, PA
  • Cpl Kenneth J. Lecastre, Buffalo, NY
  • Cpl Ronald E. Niles, Charlotte, NC
  • Cpl James M. Quigley, Hollywood, CA
  • Cpl Ronald M. Stein, Waterloo, IA
  • Cpl Lyle S. Tate, Portland, OR
  • LCpl Richard R. Bean, Springfield, OH
  • LCpl William E. Czarny, Hammond, IN
  • LCpl Frederick W. Fromme, Vallejo, CA
  • LCpl Danny M. Greene, Mount Gay, WV
  • LCpl Carman K. Hicks, Anderson, IN
  • LCpl Ronnie R. Landers, Mundelein, IL
  • LCpl Charles R. Waller, Chillicothe, OH
  • Pfc Gary R. Buttenbaum, Spotswood, NJ
  • Pfc Layne F. Clifton, Lakeview, OR
  • Pfc Joseph G. Klemencic, Great Falls, MT
  • Pfc Robert E. Williams, Rockford, IL
  • Pvt Robert J. Todd, North Easton, MA

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