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Mattis Offers Condolences to Family of Navy Chief Lost in Yemen Raid

Jan. 30, 2017

A Navy special warfare operator who was killed during a Jan. 29 raid in Yemen targeting al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists gave his full measure for the nation, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today.

Shortly after Pentagon officials announced that Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens, 36, of Peoria, Illinois, had been killed in the raid, Mattis issued a statement expressing his condolences.

Upholding the Noblest Standard

“Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” the secretary said. “The United States would not long exist were it not for the selfless commitment of such warriors. 

“I thank our gallant troops and their families for their dedication to protecting this nation,” he continued, “and I pass our respects to Ryan's family in this most difficult time.”

U.S. Central Command officials estimated that 14 al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists were killed in the raid.

Owens was assigned to a special warfare unit based on the U.S. East Coast, Pentagon officials said.