Society

Trump Makes Unannounced Trip For Fallen Navy SEAL

| by Lauren Briggs

President Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, made an unannounced visit to Delaware's Dover Air Base on Feb. 1 to honor the returned remains of a U.S. service member killed during a raid in Yemen.

Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens was a 36-year-old Navy SEAL from Illinois and the first known U.S. combat casualty since the president was inaugurated in January, reports The Associated Press.

Owens had been in the Navy since 1998 and was awarded two bronze stars, a Joint Service Commendation and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, among other honors, during his decorated military career.

During the al-Qaida compound raid, 30 others were killed, including three senior al-Qaida members, according to CNN. Three other U.S. service members were wounded.

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Among the raid's dozens of civilian casualties was the 8-year-old daughter of al-Qaida leader Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American citizen killed by a drone strike in 2011.

According to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, the raid produced "an unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent the potential deaths or attacks on American soil," notes CNN.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware and a group of reporters who agreed to keep the journey secret until Trump's arrival, traveled with the president to visit the Air Force base and attend the dignified transfer ceremony, notes AP.

Following Owens' death, Trump spoke with his widow and extended condolences to his three children and his father.

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"Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service," Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in a Jan. 30 statement posted to the Defense Department's official website. "The United States would not long exist were it not for the selfless commitment of such warriors. I thank our gallant troops and their families for their dedication to protecting this nation, and I pass our respects to Ryan's family in this most difficult time."

Sources: AP, CNN, U.S. Department of Defense / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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