Hundreds Honor South Bay Marine | NBC Bay Area

Hundreds Honor South Bay Marine

Marine Capt. Matt Manoukian was the son of Judge Socrates "Pete" Manoukian and Associate Justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian



    (Published Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012)

    The memorial service for Marine Capt. Matt Manoukian will be held in Mountain View Saturday to remember a life cut short in Afghanistan.

    Hundreds will gather at  the St. Francis High School gym at 3 p.m. to pay their respects.

    Manoukian and two other Marines were fatally shot after a pre-dawn meal and security meeting at a police checkpoint a little more than a week ago.

    Apparently he had the meal before the sun rose out of respect of Ramadan.

    Manoukian was the son of two Silicon Valley judges, Judge Socrates "Pete" Manoukian and Associate Justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian.

    The Manoukian family is extremely well-known in the Bay Area, and is known for their activism. In 2007, the Catholic Voice of Oakland wrote a piece on how a group of kindergarteners at St. Vincent's Day Home in Oakland adopted a group of Marines in Iraq, noting that Matt Manoukian, a second lieutenant at the time, was their main contact. The article noted his parents' were key supporters of the school.

    Bamattre-Manoukian has been a judge with the California Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, since 1989. 

    Born in Lebanon, Pete Manoukian is a well-regarded judge who became a U.S. citizen in 1963 and a Los Altos High graduate who has been a judge in Santa Clara County since 1993. He was the judge in 2008 who ruled that the San Francisco Zoo was allowed to look at the cell phones of two San Jose brothers involved in a deadly tiger attack on Christmas Day.

    According to a Marine website, Matt Manoukian was part of the 1st Marines Special Operations Battalion. In January, he was awarded a "Navy and Marine Corps Commendation with Combat Valor."

    Matt Manoukian planned to go to law school. His family said in his personal application statement for law school, Matt wrote, “I have always thrived on challenge and constantly seek out self-improvement, and believe in contributing to the overall development of the team, group, and society.”

    Matt Manoukian had two brothers, Michael and Martin.

    His family set up a web page in his honor where they chronicled his life with these words.

    Captain Matthew Patrick Manoukian was born February 22, 1983 to Socrates Peter Manoukian and Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian.  He grew up in Los Altos with younger brothers Michael and Martin. He attended St. Nicholas school (graduated 1997) and St. Francis High School (graduated 2001).   He attended and graduated from University of Arizona in 2005.

    After graduating Officer Candidates School in March of 2006, he entered an Infantry Officer Course, graduating in December of that year. The next year, Matthew was stationed at Camp Pendleton until he was deployed for his first tour of duty in the town of Anah in Al-Anbar Province in Western Iraq.  He began a long process of studying the history and cultures of the Middle East.  He learned to speak Arabic.

    During that tour, he was injured by a roadside IED and suffered a concussion.  Despite his injury, he was able to put a tourniquet on the bleeding leg of a comrade, saving his life. He was Medevaced to al-Asad Air Force Base and insisted that he be turned to his men as soon as he was cleared for duty.

    In 2008, Matt was redeployed to Al-Anbar Province for a second time.  He worked with local Iraqi authorities to secure the western border with Syria, a country in which his paternal grandfather had lived for 15 years. In that second tour,  Matt was amazed to see the progress that was made between his tours, and was proud to have played a role in that transformation.  He helped to open schools, police departments and courthouses.
    Upon his return home, Matt underwent training in Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. After completing this training, he joined Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion. Out of the 100 Marines who entered the program, only 40 passed.  Matt finished among the top five.

    In 2010, Captain Matt was deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan for the first time, working to establish the rule of law. In this experience, Matt realized the societal need for a fair judicial system, influencing his decision to apply to law school.

    When Matt returned home in April of 2011, he continued with his MARSOC training.   He faced a difficult decision to either stay in the Marine Corps as an Executive Officer or resign. Matt knew that he wanted to remain in the Marines but not in the capacity of an executive position.  Instead, he told the Marine Corps that he would resign unless he was redeployed as a team leader in Special Operations. At the risk of losing him, the Marines agreed, and he was assigned a team to deploy to Afghanistan in May 2012.
    Most recently, Matt was involved in a project helping arm and train local governments against Taliban infiltration. His team made great advancements in stabilizing the area and institutionalizing the beginnings of law and order.

    Matt was set to start law school in August of 2013.  In his personal application statement, Matt wrote, “I have always thrived on challenge and constantly seek out self-improvement, and believe in contributing to the overall development of the team, group, and society.”

    –The Manoukian Family