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Marines honored for fatal sacrifices in Afghanistan

| Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 8:21 p.m.
Marine Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian, (left) and Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote gave their lives in a firefight in Afghanistan that cleared the way for their comrades to escape an insider attack.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Two Marines killed in an insider attack in Afghanistan were set to be posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the military's second-highest honor.

Capt. Matthew Manoukian and Staff Sgt. Sky Mote were to be honored on Saturday afternoon in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The men were killed in 2012 when an Afghan police officer armed with an AK-47 burst into their military outpost in Helmand province and opened fire, killing a Marine.

Manoukian and Mote confronted the intruder and shot back, allowing other Marines to escape, the Marine Corps said.

Manoukian, a 29-year-old team commander, was working in the operations center when he heard shots tearing through the walls. He grabbed his pistol and fired at the police officer while directing others to safety.

Mote, a 27-year-old explosive ordnance disposal technician, was working nearby and ran to the operations center.

“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 Marine Corps said.

The men were the 15th and 16th Marines to receive the Navy Cross, the Navy's highest honor and the military's second-highest honor.

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