Alfred A. Gates (1969/02/07)
Alfred Alan Gates was born in San Jose, California, on September 26, 1948, to Alfred and Jean Gates. His siblings included brothers Bill, Tim, and Gary and sisters Paula and Alana. The date that the Gates family moved to Santa Cruz County is not known, but in 1966 Alfred was a student at San Lorenzo Valley High School. Following graduation in 1967, Gates married and moved to San Jose with his wife, Glenda. In San Jose he entered a sheet metal apprenticeship program.
In May 1968, while living in Sunnyvale, California, Alfred Gates received his draft notice. Following basic and advanced training, he returned home for a brief leave before being deployed to Southeast Asia.
On October 7, 1968, Alfred was sent to Vietnam and assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, which was part of the 198th Light Infantry Brigade serving in Quang Tin province.
During the 1968 Tet New Year offensive, the 6th Infantry was moved to the northern portion of the province to assist the US Marine Corps in containing the insurgents. According to Gates' platoon leader, Norm Boxly,
“Company A was assigned to patrols of the Rocket Pocket off Chu Lai to try and find the VC and/or NVA 22mm rocket squads. We ran day patrols very seldom and night ambushes all the time. At resupply in the afternoon we would get an overlay showing our ambush for the night or get it called in code over the radio.”
During a patrol that Company A was undertaking on February 7, 1969, Private First Class Alfred Alan Gates was killed in action by small arms fire. His body was recovered and returned to California where he was buried in the Golden Gate Cemetery in San Bruno. Gates was posthumously promoted to corporal and received the Purple Heart.
(VVMW; USDVA; SCSn February 14, 1969; 1:6; Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, Memories Norm Boxly, http://www.a-1-6.org/Story-Boxley_Memories.htm, [16 September 2008])