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Trump travels to Delaware to meet remains of U.S. commando killed in Yemen raid

Trump departs WH

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Trump is traveling to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Wednesday afternoon for the arrival of the remains of an American commando killed during a raid in Yemen.

Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens died Jan. 28 of wounds sustained during a raid in Yemen. Handout

The Pentagon has identified the deceased man as Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, a 36-year-old Navy SEAL. He was killed Sunday during a raid against al Qaeda militants in central Yemen, an operation that left three other service members injured and approximately 30 people dead.

Owens’ is the first known combat death of a U.S. military member since Mr. Trump took office. The raid, carried out by Navy SEAL Team 6, was approved by Mr. Trump.

Mr. 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 Mr. Trump on the condition that the visit was not reported until his arrival. He was joined by his daughter, Ivanka.

Dover has long been the point of entry for fallen U.S. service members returning home. Former President Barack Obama lifted a ban on media coverage of the dignified transfer ceremonies, though families may still request privacy.

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.” 

After Owens’ death became known, Mr. Trump said “my deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member.” 

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) accompanied Mr. Trump on the trip to Dover.

President Trump and daughter Ivanka board helicopter to receive the body of slain Navy SEAL Ryan Owens at Dover Air Force Base, Wed. Feb. 1, 2017.
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