Services will be held for Captain Matthew P. Manoukian Saturday, Aug. 18 at 3pm in the gymnasium at Mountain View’s St. Francis High School.
Manoukian was killed Aug. 10 in Afghanistan’s Helmand province by an Afghan police officer with whom Manoukian had just shared a meal, according to an Associated Press report. The attacker escaped and was with the Taliban, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban, told the media. Also killed in the attack were Staff Sergeant Sky Mote, 27, of El Dorado, Ca. and Gunnery Sergeant Ryan Jeschke, 31, of Herndon, Va.
Manoukian was serving in the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion and had received two Purple Hearts. Manoukian was the son of Santa Clara County Judge Socrates “Pete” Manoukian and state appeals court Associate Justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian,
The following statement was released by the Manoukian family on its tribute website CaptainMattManoukian.com.
Captain Matthew Patrick Manoukian was born February 22, 1983 to Socrates Peter Manoukian and Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian. He grew up in Los Altos with younger brothers Michael and Martin. He attended St. Nicholas school (graduated 1997) and St. Francis High School (graduated 2001). He attended and graduated from University of Arizona in 2005.
After graduating Officer Candidates School in March of 2006, he entered an Infantry Officer Course, graduating in December of that year. The next year, Matthew was stationed at Camp Pendleton until he was deployed for his first tour of duty in the town of Anah in Al-Anbar Province in Western Iraq. He began a long process of studying the history and cultures of the Middle East. He learned to speak Arabic.
During that tour, he was injured by a roadside IED and suffered a concussion. Despite his injury, he was able to put a tourniquet on the bleeding leg of a comrade, saving his life. He was transferred by Medevac to al-Asad Air Force Base and insisted that he be returned to his men as soon as he was cleared for duty.
In 2008, Matt was redeployed to Al-Anbar Province for a second time. He worked with local Iraqi authorities to secure the western border with Syria, a country in which his paternal grandfather had lived for 15 years. In that second tour, Matt was amazed to see the progress that was made between his tours, and was proud to have played a role in that transformation. He helped to open schools, police departments and courthouses.
Upon his return home, Matt underwent training in Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. After completing this training, he joined Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion. Out of the 100 Marines who entered the program, only 40 passed. Matt finished among the top five.
In 2010, Captain Matt was deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan for the first time, working to establish the rule of law. In this experience, Matt realized the societal need for a fair judicial system, influencing his decision to apply to law school.
When Matt returned home in April of 2011, he continued with his MARSOC training. He faced a difficult decision to either stay in the Marine Corps as an executive officer or resign. Matt knew that he wanted to remain in the Marines but not in an executive position. Instead, he told the Marine Corps that he would resign unless he was redeployed as a team leader in Special Operations. At the risk of losing him, the Marines agreed, and he was assigned a team to deploy to Afghanistan in May 2012.
Most recently, Matt was involved in a project helping arm and train local governments against Taliban infiltration. His team made great advancements in stabilizing the area and institutionalizing the beginnings of law and order.
Matt was set to start law school in August of 2013. In his personal application statement, Matt wrote, “I have always thrived on challenge and constantly seek out self-improvement, and believe in contributing to the overall development of the team, group and society.”