Heartbreaking news from the Santa Clara County court community this weekend, as the San Jose Mercury News and others reported that Marine Captain Matt Manoukian, son of Sixth District Justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian and Superior Court Judge Socrates "Pete" Manoukian, was killed last week in Afghanistan.
Manoukian, a member of the First Marine Special Operations Battalion, was already the owner of a purple heart, having saved a fellow soldier's life after both were wounded in 2007 bomb blast. On Thursday an insurgent disguised as a policeman fatally shot Manoukian during a predawn meal and security meeting at a police checkpoint. He was 29.
Pete Manoukian told the Mercury News his son had been eating before daybreak in observance of Ramadan, out of respect for the people of Afghaninstan and Iraq, whom he had gotten to know during his four tours of duty. "He was very into their culture," the judge told the Mercury News. "He managed to learn Arabic and worked on opening up a school and setting up a police station and got a courthouse running with some of his people. He even taught little kids to play baseball after one of our friends sent baseballs and bats."
Matt Manoukian had planned to conclude his military service at year's end and had enrolled in Golden Gate Unversity School of Law with an eye toward becoming a public defender.
Notice of Matt's death came Thursday night with a knock on the door of the family's Los Altos Hills home. When Pete Manoukian saw four figures on the porch in uniforms bearing the Marine insignia, "I thought, oh, this isn't good," he told the Mercury News.
Manoukian was a graduate of Mountain View's St. Francis High School and the University of Arizona. He attended the officer candidate school in Quantico, Va. He also is survived by two brothers. Services were to be announced at a later time.