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2 Marines killed in Afghanistan to get Navy Cross

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Marines, Afghan Soldiers Conduct Clearing Operation Nightmare in Helmand ProvinceCAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Two Marines will be awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for their brave final actions in Afghanistan in a Saturday ceremony at Camp Pendleton.

The award — the second highest valor award, second only to the Medal of Honor — will be accepted by the families of Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote and and Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian during a solemn afternoon ceremony at the North County Marine Corps installation, according to Camp Pendleton’s public affairs office.

Both Mote and Manoukian were chosen for the award based on their final actions while on deployment to Afghanistan in 2012.

Monte, an El Dorado native, and Manoukian, a Los Altos Hills native, were assigned to Marine Special Operations Team 8133 when they came under intense enemy fire from an Afghan uniformed police officer. The attack occurred from inside the perimeter of the Marines’ tactical operations center.

“Mote, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, courageously exposed himself to a hail of gunfire, drawing attention away from others,” according to a base statement. “In his final act of bravery, he boldly remained in the open and engaged the shooter, no less than five meters in front of him.”

The shooter fatally wounded Mote.

Manoukian, a team commander, was working in the operations center when the attack began and AK-47 fire ripped through the walls of the center.

“He immediately exposed himself to further enemy fire and commanded his Marines to maneuver to safety as he engaged the enemy,” the statement read.

He, too, was fatally wounded in the attack.

Major Gen. Mark A. Clark, the commanding general of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, was scheduled to present the awards on Saturday.

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