Union Mine grad killed in Afghanistan, procession coming through EDH Thursday evening
Editor’s note: Staff Sgt. Mote’s body will arrive at McClellan Air Field at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The procession to Green Valley Mortuary and Cemetery will begin at approximately 5 p.m. The route will be along Highway 50, and will detour at El Dorado Hills Boulevard to go past Rolling Hills Middle School, where Mote’s father, Russell, is a teacher. From there, said Richard Akin of the local Marine Corps League detachment, the casket will be transferred by horse-drawn caisson, provided by the Marine Corps, for the remaining duration of the procession. Members of the public are encouraging the community to come out and show their support in the procession.
A press release from the Department of Defense has announced that Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote, 27, of El Dorado was killed in action in the Helmand province of Afghanistan on Friday, Aug. 10.
Mote, a graduate of Union Mine High School in 2003, died at approximately 2 a.m. local time during combat, a press release from the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command stated. He was part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Mote was assigned to the 1st Marines Special Operations Battalion based out of Camp Pendleton, the MARSOC press release states. Mote was a nine-year veteran of the Corps, joining in July 2003 and joining MARSOC in August 2009. He became a bulk fuel specialist after Basic Training, the press release stated. In 2007, he became an Explosive Ordinance Disposal technician.
The marine was deployed for both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He was decorated with the Purple Heart, a Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, a Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons and three Good Conduct Medals, the MARSOC press release states.
Also killed in the incident, which is currently under investigation according to the DoD, were Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian, 29, of Los Altos Hills, and Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, of Herndon, Va.
Although no official connection has been made, a story of three Marines being fatally shot by Afghan policemen made national headlines in what is known as a “green-on-blue” attack. Also occurring in the Helmand province, according to an Associated Press article, the attack took place in the Sangin district, a Taliban stronghold for years. The attackers fled into the early morning darkness, according to the AP article.
The district chief, Mohammad Sharif, told the AP that the incident happened at a police checkpoint during a dinner discussing security. Due to Ramadan, a month where Muslims cannot eat during daylight hours, the meal took place before dawn.
A Taliban representative told the AP that the attacker has since joined the group.
The death toll for the green-on-blue attacks is 31 deaths after 25 attacks as of Aug. 10, up from 11 attacks and 20 deaths in 2011, according to an AP count.
Steve Tapson, a local attorney, said that the Placerville branch of the El Dorado County Superior Court has lowered its flag to half-staff on orders of California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye in honor of the fallen soldiers. Capt. Manoukian, Tapson said, is the son of Santa Clara County Judge Socrates “Pete” Manoukian. Gov. Jerry Brown, according to a press release, also ordered the flags at the State Capitol lowered to half-staff in honor of Manoukian.