Three Marines from Camp Pendleton killed in Afghanistan
Three Marines from Camp Pendleton were killed Friday in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced Monday.
The three were from the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion: Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian, 29, of Los Altos Hills, Calif.; Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, of Herndon, Va; and Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote, 27, of El Dorado, Calif.
Initial reports were that the three were gunned down by an Afghan police officer after being invited to an early morning meal in Helmand province. The police officer reportedly fled into the darkness.
All three Marines had served in Iraq before the current deployment to Afghanistan.
In a separate so-called “green on blue” killing, in which someone wearing an Afghan uniform or working with coalition forces attacks U.S. or coalition personnel, three more Marines were killed Friday night, also in Helmand province.
Those three were reportedly from an infantry battalion from Camp Lejeune, N.C. Their names have not been released.
With Monday's announcement, there have been 17 Marines and two sailors from Camp Pendleton killed this year in Afghanistan, according to listings kept by the nonpartisan website www.icasualties.org.
Helmand province has long been a Taliban stronghold. From 2009 to early 2011, the Marines’ mission centered on direct combat with the Taliban.
But now the mission, under directions from the White House, has evolved into an emphasis on training the Afghan security forces. That has put the Marines in closer contact on a daily basis with Afghan soldiers and police.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photos: From left are Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian; Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke; and Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote. Credit: U.S. Marine Corps