Gunnery Sergeant Ralph E. Pate Jr. of Mullins, South Carolina was born October 22, 1981. He joined the United States Marine Corps on October 14, 1999, graduating from Recruit Training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island in January 2000. Shortly thereafter, he attended Marine Combat Training at Camp Geiger, North Carolina, subsequently moving on to communications school at Marine Corps Air & Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, California. Gunnery Sergeant Pate made a lateral move into the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community in January 2005. He then reported to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in September 2005. In June 2008, Gunnery Sergeant Pate reported to 2nd EOD Company, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and was immediately deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his deployment he conducted numerous EOD combat missions, rendering safe Improvised Explosive Devices, destroying enemy weapons and ordnance caches, and conducting post-blast analysis in Fallujah and in the northern Iraq. In October 2009, Gunnery Sergeant Pate deployed to Afghanistan as an EOD Section Leader in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). During this time period he conducted numerous EOD combat missions throughout the Helmand Province and during Operation Moshtarak, the kinetic clearing of Marjah, Afghanistan. Gunnery Sergeant Pate deployed to Afghanistan again in April of 2011 in support of OEF.
Gunnery Sergeant Pate’s personal awards include the Bronze Star with “V” Device, Purple Heart Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal , two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals with “V” Device, two Combat Action Ribbons, and various other campaign medals and decorations.
Gunnery Sergeant Pate is survived by his wife Kimberly, daughter Brianna, son Ashton, parents Erma and Roy Stroud, and sisters Donna and Melissa.