The father of William "Ryan" Owens, the Navy SEAL killed during a Jan. 29 Yemen raid, refused to meet personally with President Donald Trump and called for an investigation into his son's death.
"I told them I don’t want to meet the President," Bill Owens told the Miami Herald on Feb. 24, recalling what he said when the White House reached out to set-up a meeting at the president's request. "I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him."
"Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation," the grieving father added. "I want an investigation … The government owes my son an investigation."
Ryan was the only American fatality in the raid that killed at many as 29 Yemeni civilians. The raid had been planned during the Obama administration, but delayed. Trump approved the raid on Jan. 25, five days after taking office.
The raid was organized to obtain electronic equipment, including laptops and cell phones, believed to have contained information about terrorist activity. However, once Navy SEALs entered the area, an hour-long fire fight ensued and "everything that could go wrong did," according to The New York Times.
Bill said the timing of the raid -- just days after Trump's swearing in -- seemed questionable.
"Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration?..." he told the Miami Herald. "...For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen -- everything was missiles and drones -- because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?’"
However, the U.S. military has had boots on the ground for the past two years.
On May 6, the U.S. Department of Defense announced it would deploy a "small contingent" of U.S. forces to Yemen for an undetermined amount of time.
"It’s going to be a limited period of time, but I don’t have a particular deadline [for withdrawal]," said DOD spokesman Peter Cook, reported the Military Times.
And in March, 2015, 125 special operation troops were on the ground when they had to be evacuated after an escalation of the Yemeni civil war between Saudi and U.S.-backed government loyalists and Houthi rebels reportedly backed by Iran.