News

Marine from Los Altos Hills dies in Afghanistan

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Matthew Manoukian, son Santa Clara County Superior Court judge, killed in action Aug. 10

The son of a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge was killed in Afghanistan on Friday, Aug. 10, officials said.

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Matthew Manoukian, 29, was a Los Altos Hills resident and a graduate of St. Francis High School in Mountain View. According to the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command, Manoukian died around 2 a.m. local time in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Manoukian was serving in the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and was likely conducting a meeting with village leaders at the time of his death, a Marines spokesman said. Among his commendations for past exemplary service, Manoukian had received two Purple Hearts, according to the Marine Corps.

"On behalf of the entire Court family, I wish to express our profound sorrow," Santa Clara County Superior Court Presiding Judge Richard J. Loftus said.

"Matt was killed in action serving his country and the death of this amazing man is a tremendous loss to our community and nation," Loftus said.

Manoukian had previously served as a platoon commander for the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment in Camp Pendleton and had also served in Iraq, according to the Marine Corps. He was both an airborne parachutist and a 1st degree Black Belt.

Manoukian is survived by his father, Santa Clara County Judge Socrates "Pete" Manoukian, state appeals court Associate Justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian, and his two brothers, Michael and Martin.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Grateful Palo Altan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

Godspeed, Captain Manoukian. Thank you for your selfless service to our nation. And may your family find the peace that "surpasses all understanding."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Proud Friend/Classmate
a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2012 at 11:09 am

Thank you for your service and the protection you have provided this country. Your memory will live on forever. God Bless Capt Manoukian


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ernesto USMC
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

A hero for out times. Rest in peace, Captain.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ernesto USMC
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Correction: ^our times^


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 14, 2012 at 7:13 pm

What a tragic waste and how very sad. I'm sorry for his loved ones.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Monica Yeung Arima
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 15, 2012 at 1:31 am

Monica Yeung Arima is a registered user.

It is a thankless job and I am sad for him especially for his family and his friends. Great man and rest in peace!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Grateful Palo Altan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2012 at 9:41 am

This is respectfully submitted for consideration by Hmmm in East Palo Alto:

A letter to the editor published in the March 21, 2009 Bennington (VT) Banner

Service Itself Is Our Honor

Sarah Albrycht

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.

~ Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

A few nights ago, I walked a quiet mile with hundreds of other service members. It was a clear night in Bagram, Afghanistan. Although it was late, the birds were singing, perhaps roused by the unusual occurrence of people walking under their trees at the late hour. Soft voices broke the solemnity, but no words were discernible. Suddenly, as if on cue, soldiers, airmen, seamen, marines, broke off the sidewalk and lined the road, spacing themselves regularly and assuming a position of silent watchfulness. The honor cordon had formed.

Heads began to turn right as flashing blue lights appeared far down the road. As the vehicles neared, one by one, service members assumed the position of attention and rendered the hand salute. In the back of an open truck sat eight military members, and between them, at their feet, was a flag draped casket.

As I rendered my salute, I thought about the fallen soldier. I did not know his name, his unit or his home. I never saw his face or spoke to his family. I did not know why he volunteered for the Army or what he was doing when he was killed. But there was much I did know. I knew he had fought and died in an honorable cause, a cause that had little to do with our policy on Afghanistan. This soldier had volunteered to put his very life on the line in service to his nation and his brothers-in-arms. I see no more honorable cause that that.

In a column, Mr. Putney has again raised the debate about the sacrifice of America's "sons and daughters" in uniform. Some have argued that we must continue the fight to honor their memory "so that they have not died in vain." Others argue we must stop the wars to save soldiers from this fate. I think an essential understanding of what motivates those of us in uniform is missing in this debate.

We are not your sons and daughters, whom you must protect and defend. We are your sword and your shield. We are men and women who volunteer to place our lives on the line so you do not have to. We do not decide when or where we will be sent. We go. You are our advocates, not our parents.

We trust you to care for our families, to hold our jobs, pay for our equipment, salary and medical care and yes, to honor our sacrifice. We trust you to vote for good political leadership, to speak out against bad policy decisions and to demand public accountability. However, we do not count on you to explain the honorable character of our service. We are ennobled by the very fact we serve.

Our "high moral cause" is one of service to a nation whose principles we believe in. We miss the point of political debate when we distill it down to numbers of service member deaths. Debate should be about the policy that leads us in or pulls us out of war. I, as a soldier, am personally insulted when debate about war becomes not about policy, but about deaths, because it implies that my service is at best uninformed or ill-conceived, and at worst valueless.

I know my life is in the hands of others because I choose for it to be that way. I am not your daughter, a child who must be guided. I have made my choice and pledge my honor to it. I will thank you to remember that because we serve our nation, none of us dies in vain, regardless of the cause; end of debate.

Every day a new Marine enlists or an airman puts on her uniform is a reminder that our defenders come from people who still believe in our nation and the values it aspires to, as flawed as we sometimes are. War does not make our sacrifice honorable, death does not make our service honorable; service itself is our honor.

We, your American service members, do not see the cause for which we may give our last full measure of devotion, as our nation's goals in Iraq or Afghanistan, and perhaps that is the difference. Our cause is our nation, in all her beautiful, imperfect glory.

So on a dark night in Afghanistan we stood under a velvet sky of a million stars to honor one man who lay under 50. We never doubted what he died for. PFC Patrick A. Devoe II died for you, the United States of America. That, Mr. Putney, is no goof.

Sarah Albrycht is a Bennington native serving in the Army in Afghanistan.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by william s
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:28 am

rip.

stop this madness. get out of afganistan...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LTC Nathan Rainey
a resident of Duveneck School
on Aug 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Rest in peace Captain Manoukian, your brothers in arms will carry on the mission. You have given the last full measure of devotion and I salute your dedicated service.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Grateful Palo Altan - no thank you, but I'm glad it has meaning for you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marta
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm

My prayers and thoughts are with the Manoukain family.
Peace and solace be with you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 17, 2012 at 7:02 pm


Captain Manoukian was a very courageous American patriot and his family must be very proud of his service while bereaved of their loss.

Patriots like Captain Manoukian should be honored in every PAUSD on every day one of these heroes falls.

Soldiers like Captain Manoukian protect our freedoms and protect our lives.

" In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.

Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields."

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