SACRAMENTO - Today, Assemblymember Berman (D-Menlo Park) introduced ACR 151 to designate a portion of State Route 280 in Santa Clara County as the “Captain Matthew Patrick Manoukian Memorial Highway.”
“Captain Manoukian’s heart for service and desire to leave the world in a better place than he found it represents the best our country has to offer,” Assemblymember Berman said. “To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Captain Manoukian’s ultimate sacrifice to our country, the Captain Matthew Patrick Manoukian Memorial Highway honors his legacy of unwavering bravery, courageous leadership and extraordinary heroism.”
The resolution, introduced on Captain Manoukian’s birthday, would name the portion of State Route 280 in the Town of Los Altos Hills between postmarker 10.741 and postmarker 14.844 to honor and commemorate Captain Manoukian’s service to his community and country. Captain Manoukian grew up in Los Altos Hills with his parents, The Honorable Socrates Peter Manoukian and The Honorable Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian, and two younger brothers, Michael and Martin. His paternal grandfather was a survivor of the Armenian genocide and started a new life in the United States, making sure Matthew understood the costs of unchecked oppression.
“Our dearly beloved son, Captain Matthew Patrick Manoukian, loved his family and friends, loved his Marines, loved his country, and loved serving in the United States Marine Corps — bringing hope, freedom and peace to the world. Matthew gave his life for all he loved,” said his mother, Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian. “Matthew will never be forgotten, and I know that his ‘sacrifice will live on forever in the hearts of all who cherish freedom.’”
At 7-years-old, Manoukian determined he would one day serve those in need by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, and he never waivered from his childhood dream. In January of 2006, Manoukian entered the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA, and later went on to graduate from Marine Special Operations Command among the top tier of Marines who entered the program.
“Matt was a natural leader who knew how to bring people from all walks of life together,” said his brother, Dr. Martin Manoukian. “He expected nothing but the best of himself, brought out the best in others, and elevated the performance of everyone around him.”
Captain Manoukian served two deployments to Iraq and two deployments to Afghanistan. While preparing for his first tour of duty in Iraq, Manoukian voraciously studied the cultures of the Middle East and learned to speak Arabic. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, Manoukian led efforts focused on bringing stability and security to the respective regions—working with local leaders to establish judicial systems and police forces and unifying local village leadership with district level governance.
"Captain Matt led from the front and led by example,” said his father, Socrates Peter Manoukian. “He never ordered his Marines to do anything that he would not do and did not do himself. He made every Marine feel important to the success of the mission and earned their respect and trust.”
On August 10, 2012, the Marine Tactical Operations Center where Captain Manoukian was working came under automatic small arms fire from a rogue Afghan uniformed policeman attacking from inside the perimeter. In the face of a near certain death, Captain Manoukian drew his pistol and engaged the attacker while commanding his Marines to maneuver to safety. Captain Manoukian courageously drew heavy fire upon himself and engaged the enemy until he fell mortally wounded from the shooter's overwhelming fire. Captain Manoukian’s bold and decisive actions assisted in halting the gunman's assault and forcing him to withdraw, enabling his Marines to survive.
In 2014, Captain Manoukian, who was affectionately referred to by the locals as Captain Haidar (meaning “Lion”), was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the Marine Corps’ second-highest award for bravery, for his heroic and selfless actions of exposing himself to enemy fire, thereby allowing his comrades to escape and saving their lives.
Senator Josh Becker (D-San Mateo) is a co-author of ACR 151.
Assemblymember Marc Berman represents the 24th Assembly District, which includes southern San Mateo County and northern Santa Clara County in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Website of Assemblymember Marc Berman: www.assembly.ca.gov/Berman. Assemblymember Marc Berman’s official headshot is available here.
Contact: Isabelle LaSalle, (916) 319-2024