President Donald Trump has stepped up to assume the somber duties of commander in chief by making an unannounced trip to honor the returning remains of a U.S. Navy SEAL who was killed in a weekend raid that took place in Yemen.
In a report released by William Ryan, the Chief Special Warfare Operator, the 36-year-old from Peoria, Illinois was the first known U.S. combat casualty since Trump assumed office less than two weeks ago. The raid which took place on an Al Qaeda compound claimed more than half a dozen militant suspects while three other U.S. service members were also wounded.
The operation claimed the lives of more than a dozen civilians, including the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, who was a radical cleric and U.S. citizen who was targeted and killed by a drone strike back in 2011.
President Trump's trip to Delaware's Dover Air Base was shrouded in secrecy, accompanied by his daughter Ivanka, Trump departed the White House in the Presidential helicopter with unannounced destination. A small group of journalists accompanied Trump on the condition that the visit was not reported until his arrival.
President Trump commented on the trip at the swearing-in of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State after he'd returned to the White House, he said that I just returned from an amazing visit with a great family at Dover, adding that it was something very sad, very beautiful and that Ryan was a great man.
The Marine One landed at Dover shortly before a C-17 that was believed to be carrying Owen's remains touched down. The President met with Owens' family during a two-hour visit to the base. The family of the sailor had requested that Trump's visit and return be private.
A ban on media coverage of the casualty returns was lifted by former President Barack Obama, although families may still request privacy.
Owens enrolled in the Navy back in 1998 and he was a recipient of two Bronze Stars, a joint Service Commendation and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, among many other medals. The Navy Special Command called Owens a devoted father, a true professional and a wonderful husband following his death.