Randolph Pate, born 11-02-1898 in Port Royal, South Carolina, enlisted service after a brief tour with the United States Army in 1918, he entered the Virginia Military Institute, graduating in June 1921, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve that September, and the following May accepted his commission in the Regular Marine Corps. In the spring of 1939, he became Assistant Chief of Staff for Supply, 1st Marine Division, at New River, North Carolina, and while there was promoted to lieutenant colonel in January 1942. He began his World War II service in this capacity, participating in the planning and combat phases of the Guadalcanal campaign. He was promoted to colonel in December 1943, and later saw further service in the Pacific area. In World War II, General Holland M. Smith (see Smith), awarded Pate the Legion of Merit for outstanding service as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Serving in that capacity from 11-09-1944 to 01-11-1945, Pate, then a colonel, was cited in particular for his performance of duty during amphibious operations on Palau, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In 1947, General Alexander A. Vandegrift (see Vandegrift)
, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, presented him a Gold Star in lieu of his second Legion of Merit. The award was for exceptionally meritorious service at Guadalcanal as Assistant Chief of Staff for Supply of the 1stMarine Division, nickname “The Old Breed” during the United States’ first offensive against Japan.
During the course of the battle the division had 310 killed and 1.083 wounded. The battle for Guadalcanal would cost the division 650 killed in action, 1.278 wounded in action with a further 8.580 contracting malaria and 31 missing in action. The month of fighting against the 14th Division (Imperial Japanese Army) on Peleliu cost the 1st Marine Division 1.252 dead and 5.274 wounded. Fighting on Okinawa cost the division 1.655 killed in action.Returning to the United States after the war, he was named Director of the Division of Reserve at Marine Corps Headquarters in January 1946. The following year he assumed duties as a member of the Navy General Board. In July 1948, he became Chief of Staff of the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, and two years later was named Director of the Marine Corps Educational Center. While stationed at Quantico in September 1949, he was promoted to Brigadier General. In July 1951, Pate was assigned to the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he served as Deputy Director of the Joint Staff for logistic Plans. He was named Director of the Marine Corps Reserves for a second time that November, and in August 1952 was promoted to Major General. The following month, he took command of the 2nd Marine Division, nickname “The Silent Second” at Camp Lejeune. Ordered to Korea in June 1953, he commanded the 1stMarine Division until May 1954, earning him the Distinguished Service Medal and the Republic of Korea’s Order of Military Merit Taiquk. In July 1954, Pate was appointed Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and Chief of Staff, serving in that capacity with the rank of lieutenant general for eighteen months. On 01-01-1956, he was promoted to the rank of General and executed the oath of office as Commandant of the Marine Corps, succeeding General Lemuel Cornick Shepherd, he died very old age of 94, on 06-08-1990.
Following four years as Commandant, he retired with the rank of General. At his retirement ceremonies, 31-12-1959, Pate was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal for “exceptionally meritorious service to the Government of the United States in a duty of great responsibility as Commandant of the Marine Corps from 01-01-1956 to 31-12-1959.” Following a brief illness,
Death and burial ground.
Pate died at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, following a brief illness, 31-07-1961, age 63. Interred with full military honors with his wife Mary, born Bijting, who died age 76, on 31-12-1975, in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 3. In Section 3 also buried,Major General, Commander, G1 (Personnel) Section, Headquarters SHAEF, Charles Bonesteel (see Bonesteel), 101stAirborne General, Anthony McAuliffe (see McAuliffe) the Bastogne defender, Major General. Commander, 7th Armoured Division,Truman Boudinot (see Boudinot), Commanded the 25st Infantry Division during the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Maxwell Murray (see Murray), Major General, adviser MacArthur. Corps Engineers, Hugh Casey (see Casey), Major General, “Father of the Armoured Forces”, Adna Chaffee (see Chaffee), Lieutenant General, Chief of Staff, Hugh Drum (see Drum), Lieutenant General, 3rd Service Command and Deputy, Manton Eddy (see Eddy), Rear Admiral, U Boot 505, Daniel Gallery (see Gallery, Lieutenant General, Quartermaster U.S. Army, Thomas Larkin (see Larkin), General Lieutenant, Frank Cadle Mahin (see Mahin), Commander of the 45thDivision, General Lieutenant, 1* Brigadier General, Assistant Commanding General 78thDivisionJohn Kirkland Rice (see Rice), Commander 84thInfantry Division Third Army, Alexander Bolling (see Bolling).