August 8, 1945 was a day of rejoicing in America. There were none more joyful and thankful than the citizens of Crane Hill, a small rural community in Alabama. Among those celebrating was Mrs. C. Bates, whose son, Patrick, had survived the war in the Pacific.
Private First Class William C. Patrick Bates, USMC, of Kilo Co., 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division had made it through the Battle of Bougainville, Battle of Guam and the Battle of Iwo Jima.
On March 5, 1945, the 3rd Marines were ordered to return to Guam where they began training for a landing on Miyako Jima, an island just south of Okinawa.
Those orders were eventually cancelled, but the battalion still saw minor combat in 1945, participating in two operations on Guam designed to capture Japanese soldiers still holding out in the hills.
These sweeps took place in April and December 1945. 3/3 also began preparing for Operation Olympic, where as part of V Amphibious Corps, it would have landed at Kushikino, Kagoshima on Kyushu.
After the dropping of the atomic bombs in August 1945, and Japan’s surrender, 3rd Battalion was detached from the 3rd Marine Division in November 1945 and deactivated the following month on December 12, 1945.
Shortly before it was deactivated, the Battalion suffered the dubious honor of having the last American killed in World War II, when a Japanese sniper shot and killed Bates during a mopping up operation on Guam.
On December 14, 1945, as part of Patrol No. 7, a 16-man squad, Bates was on a 5-day sweep of Tactical Area 505 Peter located behind the Asan-Pit beaches in Guam’s west-central sector.
Headed for the village of Piti, the squad was moving along a ridge covered with 6-foot-high sword grass when shots rang out at 12:30 p.m. Bates was the only Marine hit during the action and he died an hour later