From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Fred Gates, II '54

Date of birth: July 25, 1932

Date of death: August 19, 1967

Age: 35

Lucky Bag

From the 1954 Lucky Bag:


From the November 1967 issue of Shipmate:

LCdr. Fred H . Gates, USN, died on 19 Aug. as the result of a military aircraft accident in the South China Sea. He was serving as a pilot in Attack Squadron 25 on board USS CORAL SEA. Memorial services were held in the CORALSEA on the 21st, and in St. Paul's Episcopal Church at Centreville, Md., on the 27th.

LCdr. Gates was born in Wilmington, Del., and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1954. He received flight training at Pensacola, Fla., and Kingsville, Tex., and was designated a naval aviator in 1955. His first flight duty was with VS-32 at the Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, R. I., with succeeding assignments on the Staff, Commander Fleet Air, Quonset Point; the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, Calif.; Experimental Squadron 1 (VX-1), Naval Air Station, Key West, Fla. After promotion to lieutenant commander in 1963 he served with VS-24 at Norfolk, Va., Replacement Air Group 105, NAS Lemoore, Calif. He had served in USS TARAWA, LAKE CHAMPLAIN, WASP, INTREPID before being assigned to Viemam in CORAL SEA on 25 July of this year, and had flown patrol missions during the Cuban missile crisis.

He is survived by his widow, the former Sandra Perry of Rockland, Me.; a son Paul Douglas 7; three daughters, Stephanie Leigh 11, Terri Elizabeth 8, and Courtney MacLeod 5; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Carleton Gates, all of Centreville, Md.; a sister, Mrs. Sally Louise Herzer of San Diego, Calif., and a brother, MacLeod Douglass Gates of Chestertown,Md.

From a history of Attack Squadron (VA) 25:

19 August While flying practice strikes against targets in the vicinity of Okinawa, LCDR FRED GATES was lost at sea when his A-1 crashed into the sea 1/4-mile behind the ship. His engine failed as he was attempting to land aboard the ship with engine trouble. A memorial service was held on the hanger deck of CORAL SEA on 21 August.

Fred has a memory marker in Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial Hall Error

Fred is listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall; this is likely based on him being included on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is, however, still incorrect. According to Coral Sea's deck log, Fred crashed at 24° 59.8' N, 128° 30.6' E — that is over 1,200 nautical miles from Yankee Station, and the crash was in no way related to enemy action.

(Thank you to Chris Williamson of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency for providing additional information on Fred's loss on April 6, 2018.)

Class of 1954

Fred is one of 37 members of the Class of 1954 on Virtual Memorial Hall.