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Camp Pendleton Special Ops Marines To Posthumously Receive Navy Cross

Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote
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Above: Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote

Two fallen Camp Pendleton Marines, Staff Sgt. Sky Mote, 27, and Capt. Matthew Manoukian, 29, will each be posthumously awarded the Navy Cross at a base ceremony on Saturday.

Mote and Manoukian were both assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion at Camp Pendleton.

As Home Post previously reported, Mote, Manoukian, and Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, were shot to death by an Afghan police officer on Aug. 10, 2012 in the Sangin district of Helmand province.

The insider attack took place after the gunman invited the Marines to join him for a meal.

The Marine Corps Times reports after the shooting, a badly wounded Mote put himself in danger to distract the shooter from hurting his fellow Marines:

"In his final act of bravery, he boldly remained in the open and engaged the shooter, now less than five meters in front of him. He courageously pressed the assault on the enemy until he received further wounds and fell mortally wounded."

Capt. Matthew Manoukian

Manoukian acted in a similarly courageous and selfless manner, making himself a target of the gunman so the Marines under his command could flee to safety:

"Outgunned, Manoukian continued to engage the enemy until he fell mortally wounded to the shooter's overwhelming fire."

The Navy Cross is the second highest military honor, awarded for "extraordinary heroism."

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