On Jan. 18, Marine Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote will be awarded the Navy Cross for extreme heroism in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton. Mote, 27, was killed, along with two other U.S. Marines, on Aug. 10, 2012, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, by a supposed Afghan ally.
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The Navy Cross is the second highest military decoration for valor awarded to a member of the United States Navy, Marines or Coast Guard.
A 2003 graduate of Union Mine High School, Mote was deployed to Iraq as a bomb-disposal specialist and then twice deployed to Afghanistan to work with 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, training local Afghan police and carrying out dangerous missions. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, a Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons and three Good Conduct Medals.
When Mote’s body was brought home to El Dorado County where he and his brothers grew up and where his parents and younger brother still live, hundreds of people were on hand to give him a hero’s welcome — following the hearse bearing his body, filling the overcrossings along Highway 50 and lining the streets along the route to the mortuary.
His family, father Russell Mote, mother Cindy Menshall, step-mother Marcia Mote, and brothers Tim, Eric, Tyson and Carson are dealing with their loss. Family members have participated in fundraisers and athletic events to raise money for Marine families in Sky’s name.
Attending the award ceremony at Camp Pendleton on Jan. 18 will be Sky’s family and some friends as well as a few of Sky’s teachers and coaches, and a representative from Representative Tom McClintock’s office.
“This is such an honor, but I wish it hadn’t happened this way,” said Russell Mote. “The recognition of Sky is good for his battalion and that’s who this ceremony is for, but it brings it all back to us again. Christmas was tough this year.”
There is a movement by the Friends of the Veterans Monument in El Dorado County to name the Ray Lawyer Drive overcrossing at Highway 50 in Sky Mote’s honor.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.