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Marine Gunnery Sgt. Ralph E. Pate Jr.

Died June 26, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

29, of Mullins, S.C.; assigned to 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died June 26 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.

Hundreds offer final respects to fallen S.C. Marine

The Associated Press

MULLINS, S.C. — Hundreds of people have paid their final respects to a Marine sergeant from South Carolina who was killed in Afghanistan.

Gunnery Sgt. Ralph "E.J." Pate Jr. died June 26 while fighting in Helmand province. He was an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to Second EOD Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Second Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

WBTW reported that people lined the avenues leading to Mullins High School ahead of a memorial service honoring Pate on Wednesday. Among the friends and family was fellow Marine Steve Vereen, who served alongside Pate and said the news of his death was very sobering.

Pate's family members and friends said they were moved by the outpouring of support and love.

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