The Navy SEAL killed in action on Jan. 29 will be posthumously advanced to senior chief petty officer, Navy officials announced Thursday.

The word came just hours before the remains of Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) William "Ryan" Owens were slated to arrive at Dover Air Force Base Wednesday. 

Owens, 36, of Peoria, Illinois, died in Yemen of wounds sustained in a raid against al-Qaida, during which three others were wounded.

A Navy official familiar with the approval told Navy Times that Owens' command, Naval Special Warfare Development Group — known to some as SEAL Team Six — requested permission for the advancement and that it be effective on Jan. 29, the day of his death.

Navy leadership approved the request Wednesday, the source said.

Owens, a chief petty officer, was eligible for promotion to senior chief petty officer and would have been considered by the Fiscal 2018 active duty E-8 Selection Board. That board won't convene until April.

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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