|William Ryan Owens|
Saturday, February 4, 2017
The Return of Class to the White House
By Jim Emerson, staff writer
President Donald J. Trump takes his role as Commander-in-Chief seriously. He never served in the American Armed Forces, but is a commander that accepts the responsibly of his position. This week, the President made an unannounced trip in order to pay tribute to a U.S. Navy SEAL who was killed last weekend in Yemen.
In a statement released by the President; “Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said in the statement. “The sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces, and the families they leave behind, are the backbone of the liberty we hold so dear as Americans, united in our pursuit of a safer nation and a freer world. My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member.”
Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, 36, from Peoria, Illinois, was assigned to an East Coast-based Special Warfare unit. “Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” said Defense Secretary James Mattis. “The United States would not long exist were it not for the selfless commitment of such warriors.” Chief Owens was the first known U.S. combat casualty since President Trump took Office.
Chief Owens joined the Navy in 1998, was awarded two Bronze stars, a Joint Service Commendation and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, among other honors. He died during a nighttime raid on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula early Sunday in southwestern Yemen. The raid yielded, according to the White House Press secretary, "an unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent the potential deaths or attacks on American soil."
President Trump’s trip to Dover Air Force Base was shrouded in secrecy. The president was joined by his daughter, Ivanka, and Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.). A small group of journalists traveled to the ceremony on the condition that the visit was not reported until his arrival. The president met privately and offered his condolences Owens' family during his two-hour visit to the base.
The ceremony to receive the remains of Chief Owens family was a private one as they had requested that it be closed to the media. They waited for the C-17 carrying Owens' remains to touch down. President Trump was impressed by the military ceremony for returning the deceased to their family, later describing the ceremony as "very sad, very beautiful."