Virginia-based SEAL identified as service member killed in Yemen

Ryan Owens in a photo from WAVY-TV

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — A locally-based Navy SEAL died after a firefight with militants from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s branch in Yemen.

Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, 36, of Peoria, Illinois, died Saturday. He was assigned to a Special Warfare unit based in the Hampton Roads area.

Owens enlisted in 1998 and was highly decorated (see a list below for his awards and decorations).

Three service members were also wounded Sunday during the raid, which killed three alleged senior leaders of Yemen’s al-Qaida branch

A fourth U.S. service member was injured when a military aircraft assisting in the mission had a “hard landing” nearby, according to U.S. Central Command.

The raid left nearly 30 others dead, including an estimated 14 militants.

Owens received several awards and decorations including:

  • Enlisted Special Warfare Specialist
  • Basic Parachutist
  • Navy/Marine Corps Medal
  • Bronze Star w/Combat “V” (2)
  • Bronze Star
  • Joint Service Commendation Medal w/Combat “V” (2)
  • Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2)
  • Joint Service Achievement Medal
  • Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3)
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2)
  • Good Conduct Medal (6)
  • Presidential Unit Citation (3)
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (8)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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