navigation-background arrow-down-circle Reply Icon Show More Heart Delete Icon wiki-circle wiki-square wiki arrow-up-circle add-circle add-square add arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up calendar-circle chat-bubble-2 chat-bubble check-circle check close contact-us credit-card drag menu email embed facebook-circle snapchat-circle facebook-square facebook faq-circle faq film gear google-circle google-square googleplus history home instagram-circle instagram-square instagram linkedin-circle linkedin-square linkedin load monitor Video Player Play Icon person pinterest-circle pinterest-square pinterest play readlist remove-circle remove-square remove search share share2 sign-out star trailer trash twitter-circle twitter-square twitter youtube-circle youtube-square youtube

Pentagon identifies Navy SEAL killed in Yemen raid

January 30, 2017 (Photo Credit: Navy)
The Department of Defense today has identified Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens as the first American war casualty of the President Donald Trump era. 

Owens, 36, of Peoria, Ill., died Jan.29 of wounds received during a raid conducted in Yemen. Three other service members were wounded in the raid. 

Nava Special Warfare Command confirmed Owens was assigned to an “East Coast-based Special Warfare unit.” While multiple news outlets are reporting the unit as Seal Team Six, the Navy would not confirm. 

Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens
Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens
Photo Credit: Navy

An estimated 14 al-Qaida terrorists were killed during the raid, according to a release by the U.S. Central Command. 

“Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said in a White House press release on Jan. 29. “My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member.

A fifth service member was injured when “a U.S. military aircraft assisting in the operation experienced a hard landing at a nearby location," according to the CENTCOM release.

That aircraft was unable to fly after the landing and was intentionally destroyed.


Owens enlisted in the Navy in Aug. 24, 1998. After initially training as a cryptologic technician (communications), he served his initial tour of duty at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Suitland, Maryland, before attending basic and advanced SEAL training in Coronado, California, completing training in December 2002.

His first tour as a SEAL was at a West Coast unit, followed by three consecutive East Coast unit tours. He was on his fifth team tour when he was killed. He'd been with that unit just over two years. 

He was selected for chief petty officer in 2009. 

Along with his SEAL Trident and Basic Parachutist wings, he is qualified to wear the following awards:

Navy/Marine Corps Medal
Bronze Star w/Combat “V” (2 awards)
Bronze Star
Joint Service Commendation Medal w/Combat “V” (2 awards)
Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2 awards)
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards)
Combat Action Ribbon
Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2 awards)
Good Conduct Medal (6 awards)
Presidential Unit Citation (3 awards)
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (8 awards)
Next Article