Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Christopher T Pate

Hampstead, North Carolina

July 21, 2006

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
29 Marine Capt

2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Command Element, II Marine Expeditionary Force

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

 Killed while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.

In Peru In Peru

For Memorial Service Photos Click Picture Below

July 28, 2006

To the Pate family,

Chris and I go way back to 1998 together. He and I were out of the same OSO office in Corvallis, Oregon. Chris, I remember, was a graduate from the University of Puget Sound, and participated in the Men's Heavy Crew Team. I, on the other hand, was a graduate from Oregon State University and a member of the Men's Heavy Crew Team. Also, I remember Chris attending Oregon Episcopal as I attended Sunset High School in Beaverton, Oregon.

Chris and I had attended the Officer's Candidate School together in the Summer of 1998. He was in Bravo Company (I believe 2nd Platoon) as I was in Alpha Company (3rd Platoon). We later linked up at The Basic School in 1999. 

Chris and I last talked this past April in the II MEF Headquarters Building (bldg 1) on MCB Camp Lejeune, and caught up on old times. He had said that he was a Activated Reservist and that he was with the 2d Anglico.

I was shocked to see in the local Daily News newspaper as well as the Marine Times this past week that a Christopher T. Pate had been killed in Iraq. I thought nothing of it as it must be some other Pate. 

Much to my surprise that my buddy was the victim of a cruel IED attack.

Please let me know if there is anything that I can do. I am currently stationed with the Foreign Military Training Unit, Marines Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, NC. My mailing address is as follows: (I removed the personal info. Contact me for the address and number.)

Semper Fidelis,

Captain Steven A. Miller
Infantry Officer
United States Marine Corps
The Oregonian 07/29/06

Fallen Marine pursued life at full speed
Mourners remember Capt. Christopher Pate as an adventurous man full of grit and promise
Saturday, July 29, 2006
DAVID R. ANDERSON

U.S. Marine Capt. Christopher T. Pate's casket passed through a phalanx of Patriot Guard Riders holding 37 U.S. flags as it neared the end of its journey Friday at Willamette National Cemetery.

A bagpiper high on the hill played "The Marines' Hymn."

Six white-gloved Marine riflemen laid down their M-16s and marched to the back of the hearse.


And a Coast Guard helicopter made two passes over the memorial service -- the second so low that the thumping of the blades felt like a bruised heart.

Friday was for mourning and saying goodbye to the 29-year-old Marine who was raised in Beaverton and died a week ago in Iraq.

But the previous evening, friends and family gathered at Skyline Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home to share stories and celebrate a life full of exploits.

Pate received his first speeding ticket two days after his 16th birthday, loved jalapeno potato chips and didn't tell friends that his culinary specialty -- scrambled eggs and squid -- was a joke until after they ate it.

Pate, who graduated from Oregon Episcopal School, was killed July 21 in Iraq's Anbar province when an improvised explosive device ripped through his patrol. Marine officers told Pate's family that he might have saved the lives of two injured sergeants when he radioed for help before dying.

Pate joined the Marines in December 1999 after graduating from the University of Puget Sound with a business degree. He volunteered for two tours in Iraq. He was engaged to Margaret A. Stearns.

On Thursday, Leslie Patton told how her son, Alex Sutton, and Pate, as 10-year-olds, built crossbows from scratch and made metal-tipped arrows. But Pate was just as intent trying to roll a perfect pie crust, she said. 

Sutton said he and Pate were scuba diving in about 30 feet of water near Seattle when Pate pulled out a beer. It wasn't a twist-top, so Pate took the regulator out of his mouth and bit off the cap. He turned the bottle upside down and tried to suck out the beer.

Julie Staton Ellis, a college friend, laughed about a winter trip to Pate's family home in Cedar Mill. Pate persuaded her to join him for a nighttime canoe paddle over a flooded golf course.

"He used to push me to do things beyond what I normally would," Ellis said.


And Pate's mother, Kathy Pate, said it was with Ellis that her only child had been skydiving when he broke his ankle.

But the Marines wouldn't accept a recruit with titanium screws holding his ankle together. So Pate had surgery to remove them. When he handed his father, Jerry Pate, the bill for the surgery, he also gave him the screws.

During boot camp, the injury flared up into a huge blood blister and a doctor told Pate to drop out. He refused.

"You helped me and Jerry create a really admirable young man," Kathy Pate told the assembly.

Friday's memorial service reflected the complexities Chris Pate lived his whole life.

He spoke Spanish, German and was learning Arabic. He studied Eastern religions, but was not religious. And he joined the Marines when everyone expected him to have a lucrative career in business.

Under a gray sky, the Rev. Arvin Luchs, a Methodist minister, quoted the 23rd Psalm: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil."

But Luchs also spoke of the Buddhist concept of enlightenment called Sukhavati, a pure land with fragrant rivers and sweet sounds.

A spit-and-polish Marine honor guard fired three volleys. A Marine presented Jerry Pate with the flag from his son's casket and his son's Purple Heart medal. Three leather-clad bikers from a group that honors fallen soldiers, led by a man who calls himself Bubz, also knelt to address Jerry Pate during the ceremony.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski told mourners that he would have liked to know someone as interesting, with such a life force, as Chris Pate.

"I salute him and call him the best Oregon has to give," Kulongoski said. "He was a wonderful young man and an outstanding Marine."

Luchs urged everyone to safeguard the memory of Pate.

"What is remembered never dies and is never lost," he said. "Our eyes are filled with tears, our minds are numb with loss. We will never forget his bravery or his sacrifice."
David R. Anderson: 503-294-5199; davidanderson@news.oregonian.com 

The Beaverton Valley Times 04/27/06
'He loved life'
Friend says Aloha Marine Corps Capt. Chris Pate who was killed in Iraq ‘used every minute’

By Ray Pitz

The Beaverton Valley Times, Jul 27, 2006

Marine Corps Capt. Christopher T. Pate, left, with friends Alex Sutton, center, and Jon Reali, right.

Alex Sutton will long remember his best friend, Capt. Christopher T. Pate, as someone who didn’t take life in small pieces – he tore off large chunks.

Pate, 29, died Friday in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, the result of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device that blew up while he and fellow soldiers were on combat operations against anti-Iraq forces.

“He was a unique person, in every sense of the phrase ‘larger than life,’ Sutton said. “He’s been my best friend since about fourth grade.”

Pate grew up in Beaverton where he attended Elmonica Elementary School, Five Oaks Middle School and Aloha High School. He spent his junior and senior years at Oregon Episcopal School, where he graduated in 1995.

Although the two took different routes in high school – Sutton graduated from Jesuit High School – they still kept in touch, maintaining their friendship during two decades.

Sutton, a 29-year-old Portland attorney, said the two were climbing partners, having in the past scaled Rocky Butte and skied up the summit of Mount St. Helens. They also spent time scuba diving in the Puget Sound area.

Calling Pate “ridiculously smart,” Sutton said Pate could have done anything he wanted. Pate’s father, Jerry, is a successful businessman who lives in Florida, and that certainly could have been his future as well.

But Pate was someone who would not, or could not, stand still.

“You couldn’t keep Chris behind a desk with a set of leg irons,” said Sutton. “He needed to be climbing or racing or just devouring his existence.”

As his friendship with Pate grew, Sutton said he came to realize that simply being in his friend’s presence made himself and others better people.

A short time after graduating with a degree in international business from the University of Puget Sound in 1999, Pate joined the Marines.

For a brief time, Sutton too thought about enlisting. While he didn’t, he later attended Pate’s commissioning ceremony.

“I never have seen a kid more proud than he was at his commissioning,” said Sutton. “He was beaming, ecstatic. It was a defining moment.”

Sutton said Pate, who served as both a terminal air controller and intelligence officer, treated Marine boot camp like it was summer camp. He was promoted to captain in 2004.

Sutton said it was always obvious to him that Pate enjoyed his life in the military.

“He loved what he did and he had no regrets,” Sutton said.

When Sutton got married last September, Pate was one of his groomsmen.

Pate recently became engaged to Margaret Stearns, a woman he first met while the two attended Oregon Episcopal School.

The last time he saw his friend alive was when he flew to Portland a couple of months ago.

“He came basically to announce his engagement,” said Sutton, who was in Portland International Airport getting ready to fly to California when he heard from him.

Fortunately, Sutton was able to catch up with Pate just before the officer flew back to North Carolina.

On Friday, Sutton received news of Pate’s death in disbelief, leaving a puddle of tears on the floor.

He always considered Pate bulletproof.

“He just loved life and used every minute,” said Sutton. “There just should have been 60 more years.”
Son Wore Many Hats But Hero May Fit Best
Killed in Iraq - Capt. Christopher Pate grew up in Oregon; loved ones recall him as a man of the world
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

DAVID R. ANDERSON
The Oregonian

Student of Eastern religions. Mountain climber. Triathlete. Polyglot. Marine. Renaissance man.

Those are among the words family and friends use to describe U.S. Marine Capt. Christopher T. Pate, who died Friday in the Anbar province of Iraq after an improvised explosive device ripped through his patrol.

Now they add "hero."

Marine officers are telling Pate's parents, Jerry and Kathy Pate, that their 29-year-old son used his dying words to radio for help. Two sergeants training Iraqi soldiers with Pate lost legs in the attack. Pate's call might have saved their lives, Jerry Pate said.

He cried Tuesday as he said his only child might win the Bronze Star for heroism.

Chris Pate, who was raised in Beaverton and graduated from Oregon Episcopal School in Raleigh Hills, was a man of the world. He paddled the Amazon River while learning Spanish. He studied for a year in Germany, not knowing the language before attending the University of Freiberg. And he was studying Arabic in Iraq.

As a student at Oregon Episcopal, he spent Winterim, the extracurricular week before spring break, at a Buddhist monastery in Washington. And then he went fishing in Alaska with his dad.

"He liked to think of himself as a renaissance man," Jerry Pate said from his home in central Florida.

Alex Sutton and Jon Reali on Tuesday remembered their boyhood friend as someone who loved to beat competitors in triathlons. He still had the Isuzu Rodeo he bought as a high school junior. And if he said he would be at your house at 5 a.m. to go fishing, he was there at 5 a.m. -- with coffee.

Pate wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle, not because he had one, but because he might need to know someday. Going to Powell's Books with Pate turned into an esoteric journey through Eastern religions, Norse mythology and other surprises.

"Things you wouldn't expect from the average Marine," Sutton said.

"He didn't fit any mold," Reali said. "He chose his own path."

Sutton's favorite memory of his friend was from when they were 14. Sutton was going on a rare camping trip without his friend. Pate hid two bricks in Sutton's backpack, along with a note.

"Hey, Alex, I just wanted to let you know how important physical fitness is and you're looking a little flabby." The note ended with a caution that the bricks belonged to Sutton's mom and she wanted them back.

But the mischievous boy became a man. Reali will always remember Pate, the stoic bald-headed Marine, getting emotional while offering a toast at Sutton's wedding in September. Pate didn't like public speaking, but he brought down the house.

"It broke him up to say those things," Reali said. "But that was the one point I can say I was most proud."

Pate was born in Orlando, Fla. His family moved to Beaverton in 1984, and Pate attended Elmonica Elementary, Five Oaks Middle and Aloha High schools before transferring to Oregon Episcopal as a junior.

Pate had been in talented-and-gifted programs, but went to the private school for an added academic challenge, Jerry Pate said.

His son was a rock climber, scuba diver, skier and white-water kayaker. In school, he played football, lacrosse and soccer.

"He was a natural Northwest boy," his father said.

Pate graduated from Oregon Episcopal in 1995. He received an academic scholarship to the University of Puget Sound and graduated in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in business administration with a specialty in international business. During college, he rowed in crew and spent a year in Germany. After graduation, he went to South America to learn Spanish.

Pate joined the Marines in December 1999.

"It was an organization he saw as being a special group that was committed to American values," Jerry Pate said.

Chris Pate reached the rank of captain in July 2004. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and assigned to the 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force.

His service took him to Okinawa, Korea, Thailand, South America and Yemen. Then Pate volunteered for two tours in Iraq, his father said. His parents wouldn't have chosen a war zone.

"As parents, of course, we just want some safe harbor for our child," Jerry Pate said.

At one point, he could have stayed home.

"He said, 'Dad, I trained those people, and I have the obligation to look after them,' " Jerry Pate said.

His tour in Iraq was scheduled to end in November.

The family is planning a private memorial ceremony. Pate will be interred in the Portland area, his father said.

Pate was engaged to marry Margaret A. Stearns, whom he met as a classmate at Oregon Episcopal. They had bought the rings and were making arrangements.

The couple were thinking about moving to Washington, D.C., Jerry Pate said. Chris wasn't sure what to do after the Marines, but with his background -- business degree, military accolades and foreign languages -- the sky was the limit. Maybe medical school. His friends wouldn't have been surprised if his future was in intelligence.

"Nothing I'm sure he could ever tell us about," Reali said.

Four days before he died, Pate sent his parents an e-mail. He had just sold some investment property and was looking forward to his wedding.

"It was the happiest he'd ever been in his life," his father said.

David R. Anderson: 503-294-5199; davidanderson@news.oregonian.com

©2006 The Oregonian

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