NORTH LITTLE ROCK Ark. (KTHV) -- A memorial service Sunday morning honored Petty Officer First Class John Bates' Bates. He was a member of the Navy before being medically discharged. He suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder before taking his life.
Family, friends and the Patriot Guard came out to the USS Razorback to honor the serviceman. Before Bates lost his battle to PTSD, he left his father a note, requesting he raise awareness to help others.
Bates' father tells us he is honoring that request, starting with today's service. He says, "It's amazing that everyone showed up and showed the support that they are."
John Studdard is proud of his son's accomplishments. He tells us his son served in the Navy for nine years, before being medically discharged after damaging his lungs in Desert Storm. Once Bates came back to the U.S., he worked for Government Services for 14 years before taking his life.
Bates left a note behind, admitting he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and his last wish was to bring awareness so others don't battle with PTSD.
"His cry out to help is what we are trying to bring awareness to this very serious matter, they come back and they left a part of them there and they never get that part back," says Patriot Guard leader Mark Taylor.
Many members of the patriot guard didn't know Bates personally, but say they don't need a relationship to honor a fellow serviceman. Kermit Gray says, "Feeling of love and brotherhood for veterans who don't always leave it there when they come home."
Studdard says he didn't know his son was suffering from PTSD until after his death. He says, "I've struggled with his death ever since it happened, I've got little sleep and I feel this is really going to help me get through it, and I don't know if I'll ever get over it, but if we can save one veteran."
About 50 members of the Patriot Guard showed up. Bates leaves behind a wife, daughter and step-daughter. While Bates is from North Little Rock, he was laid to rest with honors in Colorado.