15th MEU News

Force Recon Marine Memorialized

22 May 2001 | Corporal Joseph R. Chenelly

A memorial service for Sgt. Jonathan R. Bates was held at the Las Flores Chapel here May 21, 2001.

More than a hundred Marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen and civilians packed into the chapel to pay homage to the Force Reconnaissance Marine who died in a training accident May 16.

Bates? was described as a "dedicated Marine, who always took pride in his job." He was also praised for taking care of his own.

"He will be remembered for his unique style," said LtCol. Gregory A. D. Boyle, commanding officer of 1st Reconnaissance Company. "Although we are all required to be alike, he had some qualities that set him apart from the group. He had tremendous courage, an appetite for adventure and a thirst for realistic, tough training."

"Sergeant Bates was the most professional Marine I?ve ever met," said Cpl. Mark A. Tully, 20, a reconnaissance scout from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. "He was always looking after his Marines."

Bates, who was a Fresno native and 27-years-old at the time of his death, was raised by his mother through his late teens until she met his stepfather. His father also died at the age of 27.

"He wanted to be more than an average American citizen," explained Boyle. "He wanted to give back to his country, so he joined the Marine Corps. Once he joined this unit he knew in his mind that this is what he wanted to do for the rest of his career. He died doing something he loved."

Bates was an infantryman prior to joining 1st Force Reconnaissance Company in April 2000.

He attended boot camp in San Diego and School Of Infantry aboard Camp Pendleton. He was first stationed in Iceland with a Marine Security Force Company. After his tour there, he was sent to 2nd Marine Division at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. He was then transferred to 1st Marine Division here. After successfully completing reconnaissance scout school, he was assigned to 2nd Platoon, 1st Force Reconnaissance Co. His platoon was attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit in February.

The accident occurred during parachute sustainment training. An investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident is ongoing.

"I cared for him like a son," SSgt. William G. Horan, Bates' team leader, told the standing room only crowd at the memorial. "I loved him like a brother. Most importantly, I respected him as a Marine."

First Reconnaissance Company has established a fund to provide support and financial assistance to his family. Donations should be made payable to the "Sergeant Bates Memorial Fund" and addressed to: Sergeant Bates Memorial Fund; c/o 1st Force Recon Co.; Attn: Supply Officer; Box 555341; Camp Pendleton, CA 92055-5341.

For more information, articles and photos on the 15th MEU, visit http://www.usmc.mil/15meu

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit