Local SEAL Dies in the Line of Duty

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A Navy SEAL from central Illinois has died while serving in Yemen. 

Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens was killed during a raid against al-Qaida on Jan. 28. Chief Owens was 36-years-old.

I extend my condolences to the family and shipmates of Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens,” said Sec. of Defense Jim Mattis. “Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service. 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, and I pass our respects to Ryan’s family in this most difficult time.”

Chief Owens enlisted Aug 24, 1998. At the time of his death, he was assigned to an East Coast-based Special Warfare unit.

“Ryan was an exceptional SEAL – an experienced warrior and a highly respected teammate who served silently, nobly and bravely through several combat deployments,” Rear Admiral Tim Szymanski, Commander Naval Special Warfare Command, told Ethos Live. “His family has sacrificed much for his service.”

Chief Owens was awarded the Navy/Marine Corp Medal and three bronze stars – two for combat with valor.

On Wednesday, Rep. Darin LaHood spoke on the floor of the House about Chief Owens.

Correction: A previous version of this story said Owens was from Peoria.

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