GySgt Ryan Jeschke
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.
Three U.S. Marines killed by Afghan police in Helmand
By Abdul Malik
LASHKAR GHAR, Afghanistan | Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:20pm EDT
LASHKAR GHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - An Afghan police commander and several of his men killed three U.S. Marines in the southern province of Helmand, turning guns on them after inviting them to a dinner to discuss security, Afghan officials said on Friday.
The men were all Marine Corps special operations forces and were killed on Thursday night while attending a meeting in the Sarwan Qala area, in what appeared to be a planned attack by rogue Afghan forces.
"During dinner, the police commander and his colleagues shot them and then fled. The commander was Afghan National Police in charge of local police in Sangin," a senior Afghan official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Sangin is a district.
"It looks like he had drawn up a plan to kill them previously," the official said.
A spokeswoman for NATO-led forces in the country confirmed the incident but said it was too early to say whether it was a rogue shooting or due to insurgent infiltration.
"All we know is that they were killed by an Afghan in a uniform of some sort," the spokeswoman said.
The Pentagon said later the slain servicemen were Marine Corps special operations forces, but it was unable to confirm other details of the shooting.