Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian
Son of Silicon Valley judges killed in Afghanistan
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- An extraordinary young Marine who touched lives throughout the Bay Area has been killed in action in Afghanistan.
Capt. Matt Manoukian is the son of two Silicon Valley judges. They are mourning along with his two brothers.
Manoukian's death has also devastated the kindergartners from St. Vincent's Day Home in Oakland, who had adopted him as a penpal.
Manoukian was on his fourth tour in Afghanistan when he was killed. He was shot by an Afghan police officer.
Manoukian is known to his family and friends as a Marine's Marine. He was in Afghanistan during this tour to train Afghan police forces to provide security for their own country.
Carol Ann Corrigan, a longtime family friend and associate California Supreme Court justice, has known Manoukian and his family for the past 25 years.
"After 9/11 he became very committed to the notion of defending his country and assisting in its protection," she said. "He is a truly proud member of the Marine Corps."
Manioukian, 29, is the son of Santa Clara judge Socrates Pete Manoukian and associate justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian of the state appellate court.
Both are on the board of St. Vincent's Day Home in Oakland. At the center, children adopted a group of Marines as penpals due to the influence of Matt and his parents.
Corrigan said she learned that Capt. Manoukian was killed while having a meal with a group of Afghan police officers Thursday.
Corrigan said the family is headed to Dover, Del. to wait for Manoukian's casket. He is also survived by his two brothers, Michael and Martin.
MILITARY: 3 Marines slain by Afghan policeman were from Camp Pendleton
Three elite Camp Pendleton Special Operations Marines slain by an Afghan police officer early Friday have been identified by the Defense Department.
Killed were Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian, 29, of Los Altos Hills' Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, of Herndon, Va., who also had a Vista address and was portrayed in the book and HBO series "Generation Kill;" and Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote, 27, of El Dorado, whom records show also had a Vista address.
They were all members of Camp Pendleton's 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, a specially trained and secretive unit that carries out some of the most dangerous missions of the war.
Military officials in Afghanistan said the police officer shot the men after sharing a meal with them. The shooter fled, but has since been detained, according to the Associated Press.
Thirty-four U.S. and coalition service members have been killed this year by Afghan forces or insurgents dressed in Afghan National Army or police uniforms.
The slayings took place in Sangin, a former center of anti-government Taliban drug trafficking and roadside bomb manufacturing.
Two years ago, Camp Pendleton-based Marines invaded the district and have largely taken control over it.
The Associated Press said Sangin's Afghan district chief and the Taliban both identified the gunman only as Asadullah, a member of the Afghan National Police who was helping the Marines train local police.
The news service quoted a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, saying the attacker joined the insurgency after the shooting.
The slain Marines all had a wealth of combat experience, and each was highly decorated.
Jeschke was a 12-year veteran who joined Special Operations in July 2009.
He was quoted in the 2004 book "Generation Kill," in which embedded Rolling Stone writer Evan Wright chronicled the experiences of Camp Pendleton's 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the invasion of Iraq.
In the book ---- which served as the basis for the 2008 HBO series of the same name ---- Wright wrote of the then-22-year-old Jeschke's reaction after a young Iraqi girl was killed when Marines opened fire on a car that failed to heed commands to stop at a roadblock.
"War is either glamorized ---- like we kick their ass ---- or the opposite ---- look how horrible, we kill all these civilians," Evans quoted Jescke as saying. "None of those people know what it's like to be there holding that weapon. After (another Marine) and I went up to that dead girl, I was surprised, because honestly, I was indifferent. It's kind of disturbed me. Now, sometimes, I think 'Am I a bad person for feeling nothing?'"
Jeschke's decorations included a Purple Heart, four Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medals (one with combat V), two Combat Action Ribbons and four Good Conduct Medals.
He was also an airborne parachutist and combatant diver and a 1st degree black belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
Mote was a nine-year veteran who joined the Marine Corps' Special Operations Command in August 2009.
After boot camp and combat training, he became a bulk fuel specialist, then later an explosive ordnance disposal technician.
Photos on his Facebook page show a keen interest in the outdoors, especially rock climbing. The photos show him at Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert and backpacking through Piute Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
His service included deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Mote's decorations included a Purple Heart, a Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons and three Good Conduct Medals.
Manoukian was a 6 1/2-year veteran who joined Special Operations in March 2010.
His previous assignment was as a platoon commander for 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton.
He also had multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He was on his second deployment with Special Operations Command.
Manoukian's decorations include two Purple Hearts, two Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medals and two Combat Action Ribbons. He was also an airborne parachutist and 1st degree Black Belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
Both of his parents are California judges. His mother is Associate Justice Patricia Manoukian, a member of the California Court of Appeals 6th Appellate District based in San Jose. His father is Socrates "Peter" Manoukian, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge.
Efforts to reach family members of the three Marines on Monday were not successful.
The newspaper UT San Diego quoted Manoukian's father Saturday saying his son was a "heat-seeking missile" and that he and his wife worried about the dangers he faced.
So far this year, 244 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan.
Since the war began shortly after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, 2,088 American troops have been killed and more than 17,000 wounded.
There was no immediate comment from Marine Corps officials or word of a memorial ceremony.