Tim Manchester’s named to be added to Solvang Park plaque

By Raiza Giorgi


The Memorial Day ceremonies will be slightly amended this year as the COVID-19 restrictions are still in place and large gatherings are not recommended. 

The VFW Post 7139 and American Legion Post 160 will still be honoring the valley servicemen and women who gave their lives for our country. 

American flags will be placed on more than 900 veterans’ graves at the Santa Ines Mission, Chalk Hill, Oak Hill and Saint Marks cemeteries on Saturday, May 29, with veterans invited to help place them, according to Alvin Salge, Commander of the VFW Post 7139.

There will be no cemetery ceremonies on Memorial Day. The Solvang Park and Veterans Memorial Hall American flags will be lowered to half-staff. 

“We invite the public to our special Memorial Day program starting at 11 a.m. both in front and inside of the Solvang Memorial Veterans Hall to dedicate memorial plaques honoring the 19 Santa Ynez Valley residents who gave their lives in service to our nation,” Salge said. 

The program will start in the front of the Veterans Hall and will include a tour of the plaques inside of the Big Hall.  

A 19th name is being added this year to the memorial plaque in Solvang Park: Texas Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Timothy Luke Manchester, who died Jan. 20 in Kuwait. He was born Dec. 30, 1986, in Lompoc, and grew up in Buellton. 

Staff Sgt. Timothy Luke Manchester Photo contributed by the Texas Military Department

Manchester, 34, died at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in a non-combat related incident that officials say remains under investigation. No details about his cause of death were released.

Manchester went to Jonata Elementary School and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, where he played baseball and ran cross country. His father, Tim Manchester, was the former pastor of Crossroads Church in Buellton. 

Baseball was Manchester’s true love and he dreamed of coaching one day, according to his family members.

Manchester enlisted in the Marines immediately after graduating high school in 2005 and served for nearly a decade as a Middle East cryptologic linguist. Manchester attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey and became fluent in Arabic. 

He served on two deployments to Iraq, first in 2008 and again in 2009. He went on to serve in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, during the tumultuous revolution in 2011.

He joined the Texas Army National Guard in April 2018 in the rank of Staff Sergeant with the 636th Military Intelligence Battalion as a cryptologic linguist and transferred to the 36th Infantry Division HHBN, which deployed him to Kuwait in October 2020 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Spartan Shield).

You can read more about his many accomplishments and heroism at www.santaynezvalleystar.com/valley-residents-pay-respects-to-local-serviceman-who-paid-the-ultimate-price/. 

The Memorial Day remembrance includes a 229-year span in some 60 military actions that claimed 1.4 million lives.