Locals turn out to honor fallen Marine in El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park, Folsom

Staff Sgt. Sky Mote receives hero's welcome as body is returned home
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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CAMERON PARK — Thousands lined the streets of El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park waving flags and saluting a motorcade processional bringing Staff Sgt. Sky Mote to Green Valley Mortuary Thursday evening. While on Highway 50, Mote's processional was met with flag-waving supporters and mourners on the overpasses leading up to El Dorado Hills. Mote, 27, died Aug. 10 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, Camp Pendleton. The outpouring of support from the community was evident from McClellan Air Force Base through El Dorado Hills and in Cameron Park. Fire engines, police officers, assorted law enforcement agencies and the Patriot Riders escorted the hearse carrying Mote's remains. His family followed in two stretch limousines. Mote’s father could be seen riding in the back of one limousine staring through sunglasses at the crowds clapping and saluting as he passed. Dawn, Bob and Sarah Palen stood alongside Green Valley Road Thursday evening holding a large American Flag. The family came to the area from Pleasanton. “This is one of my brothers in arms,” said Bob Palen, who served eight years in the US Navy. “I’m here out of respect.” His wife Dawn said all heroes deserve to be honored. “They all deserve our respect, especially those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” she said. Maj. Jeff Landis, public affairs officer for the US Marine Corp Forces Special Operation Command, said by phone Thursday the circumstances surrounding Mote’s death are under investigation. He added that Mote was a highly trained soldier. “Marines like Mote are hand-picked, screened and evaluated to carry out these missions,” Landis said. “He was one of the elite.” Mote’s parents, Russ and Marcia Mote, are both teachers in the Buckeye Union School District. Sky Mote attended Silva Valley Elementary School and Rolling Hills Middle School. Along the final leg of the processional route as the cars passed through, the crowd began to cheer and salute. Tears streamed down the faces of many. Holly Strewn stood with her two small children who held flags. “I didn’t know Sky, but I needed to show my support to his family,” she said. “Their son paid the ultimate price” Mote is survived by his parents and brothers, Erick Tate, Tyson Tate and Carson Mote.