By Cathy Locke
Copyright 2014 The Sacramento Bee
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A Marine from El Dorado County, Calif., who was killed in Afghanistan has been named a recipient of the Navy Cross for valor.
Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote, 27, was killed Aug. 10, 2012, in a village in Helmand province when a uniformed Afghan policeman opened fire on Marines inside their tactical operations center. The Navy Cross will be awarded posthumously to Mote and Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian, 29, of Los Altos Hills, in a ceremony Saturday at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County. Both men were members of the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion and died in the same incident.
The Navy Cross is the second highest valor award, after the Medal of Honor, and must be approved by the secretary of the Navy before being awarded. Mote and Manoukian will become the third and fourth Marines in the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command’s seven-year history to be awarded the Navy Cross, and the 15th and 16th Marines to receive it for actions during Operation Enduring Freedom, according to a Marine Corps news release.
Mote and his colleagues were conducting village stability operations in Helmand province when they came under automatic small-arms fire from a rogue Afghan uniformed policeman who attacked from inside the center’s perimeter, according to the citation issued by the secretary of the Navy. Working in an adjoining room, Mote had not been seen by the attacker and could have left the building and escaped to safety.