On January 28, during an intelligence-gathering raid on al-Qaida in Yemen, Chief Special Warfare Officer William “Ryan” Owens was killed in action. Owens enlisted in the Navy 18 years ago and had since distinguished himself as an elite warrior with multiple awards including three Bronze Stars. Although it hasn’t been confirmed, Owens is said to have been a part of the elite SEAL Team VI. Several other SEALs were injured during the raid.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that Owens “upheld the noblest standard of military service” in giving his life for his country. Mattis continued “the United States would not long exist were in not for the selfless commitment of such warriors.” Owens proved courageous and loyal to the country he had served and protected since joining the Navy as a teenager. Sacrifices such as his remind us that freedom is not free, but there are those willing to pay the price so we all may enjoy it.