Marine Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote will posthumously receive the Navy Cross for extreme heroism. Mote, 27, was one of three Marines killed on Aug. 10, 2012, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, by a supposed Afghan ally.
The Navy Cross is the second highest military decoration for valor awarded to a member of the United States Navy, Marines or Coast Guard. Staff Sgt. Mote’s Navy Cross citation reads, in part: “By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Staff Sergeant Mote saved his comrades from further injury or possibly death, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for another.”
Attending the Jan. 18 award ceremony at Camp Pendleton will be Sky’s family and some friends as well as a few of Sky’s teachers and coaches and a representative from Congressman Tom McClintock’s office.
“This is such an honor but I wish it hadn’t happened this way,” said Russell Mote, a science teacher at Rolling Hills Middle School in El Dorado Hills. “The recognition of Sky is good for his battalion and that’s who this ceremony is for, but it brings it all back to us again. Christmas was tough this year.”
Russell and Sky’s stepmother Marcia Mote, a teacher at Brooks Elementary in El Dorado Hills, raised Sky in El Dorado County. The Marine’s also survived by his brothers Tim, Eric, Tyson and Carson and mother Cindy Menshall. Family members have participated in fundraisers and athletic events to raise money for Marine families in Sky’s name.
A 2003 graduate of Union Mine High School, Mote was deployed to Iraq as a bomb-disposal specialist and then twice deployed to Afghanistan to work with 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, training local Afghan police and carrying out dangerous missions. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, a Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons and three Good Conduct Medals.
When Mote’s body came home in mid-August 2012, hundreds of people lined overpasses and El Dorado Hills streets to support the family and the fallen Marine, whose name could be memorialized for years to come. The Friends of the Veteran’s Monument in El Dorado County have suggested naming Placerville’s Ray Lawyer Drive overcrossing at Highway 50 in Sky Mote’s honor.