One of three Marines killed in Afghanistan’s Helmand province on Friday was from Herndon, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, was a 1999 graduate of Herndon High School. He was assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Matthew P. Manoukian, 29, of Los Altos Hills, Calif., and Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote, 27, of El Dorado, Calif., also were killed.
According to the Defense department, Jeschke, a 12-year veteran, joined the Marine Corps in May 2000 as a Basic Reconnaissance Marine.
He then served with 1st Recon Battalion and spent some time as a reservist before serving with the 1st Special Missions Training Branch at Camp Pendleton before it became part of the Marine Special Operations School in 2007.
According to the Pentagon, Jeschke was active in both operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Jeschke’s personal decorations include a Purple Heart, four Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medals, two Combat Action Ribbons and four Good Conduct Medals. He also was an airborne parachutist and combatant diver, as well as first-degree Black Belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
Stars and Stripes, a military newspaper, reported Jeschke and the other Marines were slain by a man in an Afghan military uniform.
Several media reports said the slayings took place after the three special forces Marines were invited to the man’s home for a meal during the religious holiday of Ramadan.
Defense department spokesman Major Jefferey A. Landis confirmed Tuesday that Jeschke died Aug. 10.
“There was a meeting and there was a meal shared,” Landis said. “And yes, it was during Ramadan.”
The slayings have been widely reported as potentially being “green-on-blue” killings, a phrase used by the military to describe Afghan forces in green uniforms attacking NATO coalition forces in blue uniforms. Thirty coalition troops have been killed in such incidents —accounting for more than 10 percent of coalition deaths in 2012, according to Stars and Stripes.
“Last Friday’s incident is under investigation to determine if it was in fact, that,” Landis said.
Jeschke and his wife Sheila were living in California.