Accomplishment makes parents proud
The silver medal Capt. John Tate was awarded Tuesday at Al Taqaddum Air Base in Iraq reflected halfway around the globe to Park Rapids. His parents, LeAnne and Mike Tate, moved here in June 1993 when Mike retired from the Marine Corps. Thursday m...
The silver medal Capt. John Tate was awarded Tuesday at Al Taqaddum Air Base in Iraq reflected halfway around the globe to Park Rapids.
His parents, LeAnne and Mike Tate, moved here in June 1993 when Mike retired from the Marine Corps.
Thursday morning at work at Northwoods Bank, LeAnne beamed with pride, a stack of StarTribune newspapers piled neatly on a corner of her desk.
She said her son told her about the incident in February that earned him the military honor, but she didn't know he was put in for the medal, so it was a surprise.
According to the StarTribune story, John Tate methodically led his forces through a small section of Ramadi, Iraq for six hours after one of Tate's platoons hit an improvised explosive device Feb. 24.
He moved two other platoons into position along with Bradley armored vehicles. The troops moved from block to block. With engagements every 30 minutes, it took six hours to cover 500 meters, but casualties among Americans were kept to a minimum and the insurgents were removed from the neighborhood.
The fourth highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the US armed services is designated solely for valor in the face of the enemy.
According to LeAnne, this is John's second tour in Iraq. He was awarded a Bronze Star the first time and again during this tour.
The Tates are a military family.
John's grandfather, Robert H. Tate, who died in 2004, also received a Silver Star. He participated in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. A prisoner of war in World War II, he also earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He retired from the US Army as a master sergeant and lived in Osage.
LeAnne's father, Leon Bruels, also served in World War II. A machinist's mate, he was aboard ship on a support task force a mile away when US troops raised the flag at Iwo Jima. He achieved the rank of chief petty officer.
Leon, who died in 2000, owned a cabin near Becida, which remains in the family.
Mike Tate served in Vietnam and the first Gulf War, retiring from the Marine Corps as first sergeant.
John's brother, Sgt. 1st Class Robert Tate is stationed with the Army in Alaska and is scheduled to leave for Iraq Jan. 2.
"We are so proud of both our boys," LeAnne said.
She and Mike graduated from St. Clair High School Mike was serving in Vietnam when John was born in Mankato.
LeAnne said they were living in Beaufort, SC when Mike decided he wanted to come to Osage for deer hunting. So the boys both started school in Park Rapids in September 1986, John's freshman year.
Two months later, the family moved to Japan where they lived for about two years. John graduated from White Oak High School in Jacksonville, NC, and wrestled at state his senior year.
He graduated with a history major from Winston Salem State University but was attached to the ROTC at Wake Forest University. An honor cadet, he ranked No. 1 in his class.
John is an Airborne Ranger and graduated from Belgium Commando School. He has earned US Paratrooper Wings, an Air Assault Device and Canadian Jump Wings, according to Mike.
Last month, Robert, who is only 11 months younger than John, earned a master's degree in business and human resources and psychology.
He has received one Defense Meritorious Medal and two Meritorious Service Medals during his time in the Army.
The family's association with the military doesn't end there. One of LeAnne's nephews is a nurse, serving in the Navy, and the other is a doctor and a commander in the Navy Reserves.
LeAnne is anxious to see John. Earlier, she expected he would be back at his base in Fort Carson, CO by now, but she expects he'll be there soon.
The family will be gathering for Christmas in North Mankato, where her mother still lives. She thinks John will be able to spend some time in Park Rapids, as well.
As accustomed as she is to the military, LeAnne said she hopes this is John's last tour in Iraq and tears up a bit, talking about Robert going there so soon.
"My biggest accomplishments are my kids - and climbing Mount Fuji," she said.
Mike said he was "absolutely awed" when he heard his son was awarded the Silver Star. "We're not only grateful for the recognition for his sacrifice and valor and that he didn't get hurt, but to have a Silver Star winner in the family is awesome."