Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, 36, of Peoria, Illinois, was killed 29 Jan. during an information-gathering raid on al-Qaida militants in Yemen that left six more troops killed or injured. He had served in SEAL units on the East and West Coasts since 2003, and had been promoted to chief petty officer in 2009. He was highly decorated, earning three Bronze Stars, two with combat “V” device, and two Joint Service Commendation Medals with combat “V” device. Owens had been eligible for the fiscal 2018 active-duty senior chief selection board, due to convene in April. But after his death, the Navy approved an exception, allowing him to be promoted, effective the day he died. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said, “Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service.” The commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Adm. Tim Szymanski, also paid tribute: “Ryan was an exceptional SEAL – an experienced warrior and a highly respected teammate who served silently, nobly and bravely through several combat deployments.” (U.S. Navy)

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