President Donald Trump made an unscheduled and unannounced trip to Dover Air Base to honor fallen Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens. Owens was the first military casualty since President Trump was sworn into office.
President Trump’s trip to Delaware’s Dover Air Base was shrouded in secrecy. It was not on the president’s daily schedule. A small group of journalists traveled with Trump on the condition that the visit was not reported until his arrival. He was joined by his daughter, Ivanka.
Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, 36, of Peoria, Ill was killed during a raid on an al-Qaeda camp in Yemen on Saturday. Owens’ family is said to have asked that his return be kept private.
A recipient of two bronze stars, a Joint Service Commendation and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, among others, Owens joined the Navy in 1998 and received his special warfare training in Coronado, California.
In a statement following his death, the Navy Special Command called Owens a “devoted father, a true professional and a wonderful husband.”
Trump spoke with the grieving family over the phone offering his “sincerest condolences” to Owens’ wife, his father and their three children, according to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday. Owens was also praised by Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
“Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” Mattis said in a statement. “The United States would not long exist were it not for the selfless commitment of such warriors.” (AP Release)