By Raiza Giorgi

Santa Ynez Valley native and Texas Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Timothy Luke Manchester passed away January 20, 2021 in Kuwait. He was born December 30, 1986 in Lompoc, and grew up in Buellton.

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 and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School where he played baseball and ran cross country.

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

“We as a Pirate family mourn the loss of alumnus Tim Manchester, who passed away while serving his country in Kuwait. All of our prayers go out to the Manchester family,” the Pirates Baseball page said.

Tim Manchester
Photo contributed

Manchester enlisted in the Marines immediately after graduating high school in 2005, and served nearly a decade as a Middle East cryptologic linguist. Manchester attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA 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 US 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 where he deployed to Kuwait in October 2020 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Spartan Shield).

His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Posthumous; two Joint Service Commendation Medals; five Army Commendation Medals; three Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medals; Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal; Meritorious Unit Commendation (Navy); two Army Good Conduct Medal; Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, Posthumous; National Defense Service Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Armed Forces Service Medal w/M device, Posthumous; Army Service Ribbon; two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons
Navy/Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon; Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Overseas Service Bar (indicates the recipient has served six months overseas in a theater of war); Texas Outstanding Service Medal
and the Texas Federal Service Medal.

Manchester is survived by his parents Timothy and Cheryl Manchester, his siblings Jon Paul, Caleb, and Laura Manchester, and his nephews Quinn and Tristan Cook.

Due to the pandemic, there will be no funeral service. However he will receive a dignified transfer from Vandenberg Air Force Base to Santa Ynez Valley on Friday, January 29. Those wishing to pay respects may gather on the side of Highway 246 on the lawn of the Solvang Veteran’s Memorial Hall to honor Manchester as he is brought through town. The drive should happen between 2- 2:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Santa Ynez Pony Baseball league that Manchester grew up playing in and loved so much.

Military Times Staff Reporter Kyle Rempfer contributed to this story.