Union Mine HS Track Star turned Marine Killed while Serving in Afghanistan on Friday
Placerville (PRpond) - Sky Mote lived in El Dorado and was a well know track star at Union Mine High School before graduating in 2003. He attended Silva Valley Elementary and Rolling Hills Middle schools in El Dorado Hills, and Union Mine High School. Mote, 27, was a nine-year veteran in the Marine Corps. He then joined the Marines in July 2003 and served with honor and valor in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom. His older brother Sgt. Tim Stanley has already served over there in the Airborne U.S Army 10th Mountain Calvary Scouts.
Just two months ago Sgt. Mote received the Marine Corps Commendation With Combat "V" that distinguishes an award for combat heroism. The Marine Corps Commendation Medal is considered a somewhat high decoration reserved for Department Head level officers at the O-4 level, and senior Marine Corps NCOs at the E-8 and E-9 level and, following a full career. He was also decorated with the Purple Heart, a Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons, and three Good Conduct Medals.
Mote was a member of the Marine Special Operations Regiment, a special operations unit of the United States Marine Corps and the principal combat component of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command. The Regiment's organization was finalized in 2007. The majority of the combat personnel assigned to the 1st battalion were drawn from the Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance community.
Mote was part of a unit to teach Afghans to detect and disarm explosive devices called IEDs.
"He was proud of the small unit of Afghans he was teaching to detect and disarm IEDs," Russ Mote wrote in an email to KCRA 3. "He felt the village he was living in was making great strides in countering the Taliban."
While on patrol in the Sangin district of the Helmand province in Afghanistan Staff Sergeant Sky R. Mote was killed, along with 2 other marines. Also killed in the incident were Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian, 29, of and Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, of Herndon, Va.
Citing Afghan officials, Reuters said the American special operations forces members were killed late Thursday (approximately 2 a.m. Aug. 10) while attending a meeting in the Sarwan Qala area, in what appeared to be a planned attack by rogue Afghan forces. Three Marines were killed instantly, and the fourth was seriously wounded but the gunman escaped. A man wearing an Afghan army uniform shot and killed three American Marines, the U.S. military command said Friday. Afghan officials said the victims were American special operations forces troops.
Reuters reported that an Afghan police commander opened fire on the service members after inviting them to a meeting to discuss security. A U.S. military official confirmed the three deaths and said another service member had been injured during the incident.
NBC News' Jim Miklaszewski reported that a "lone gunman" remained on the loose and was being hunted. U.S. military officials said all of the American victims were Marines.
"The commander was Afghan National Police in charge of local police in Sangin," a senior Afghan official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "It looks like he had drawn up a plan to kill them previously," the official added.
A military official told NBC News' Courtney Kube that it was unclear whether the gunman was a member of the Afghan security forces or whether he was just wearing a uniform.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told The Associated Press by telephone that the attacker, whom he identified as a member of Helmand police named Asadullah, had been helping U.S. forces train Afghan local police troops. However, the Taliban has made false claims about the details of attacks in the past.
Maj. Jeff Landis, public affairs officer for the US Marine Corp Forces Special Operation Command, said by phone Thursday the circumstances surrounding Mote’s death are under investigation.
He added that Mote was a highly trained soldier.
“Marines like Mote are hand-picked, screened and evaluated to carry out these missions,” Landis said. “He was one of the elite.”
In a 2006 issues of the El Dorado Rod & Gun Club newsletter Sky Mote wrote, "Things out here aren’t as bad as I had expected, but the experience varies with the location." "Overall, my experience over here has been a positive one. The Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers I work with all excel at what they do, and are tireless in their efforts to accomplish the mission. They may have different beliefs about being out here, but none of them let that affect their work. Everyone I have met in Iraq is here to get their job done and get back alive with the men and women they came out with."
Mote's parents, Russ and Marcia Mote of El Dorado, teach at Rolling Hills Middle School and Brooks Elementary School, respectively. Russ Mote said his son Tim will accompany his younger brother on his final flight from Dover Air Force Base to McClellan Airfield.
Once Mote arrives in Sacramento, the California Highway Patrol, local law enforcement, fire officials and members of the Marine Corp will lead a procession to El Dorado Hills.
The community is planning a large gathering down Silva Valley Parkway in El Dorado Hills to pay respect to the fallen hero.
Sky Mote is survived by several family members in our community including his brother, Carson Mote. Carson is asking that the Union Mine Track, that his brother ran on, be dedicated in his name in recognition of the honorable and selfless service that Sky Mote gave to our county.
A Marine carry team carries the transfer case containing the body of Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote of El Dorado, Ca., upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Del. on Sunday Aug. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Name: Sky R. Mote
Hometown: El Dorado, Calif.
Rank: Staff Sgt.
Service: United States Marine Corps
Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan
Freedom isn't free.
Rest In Peace Marine Warrior.