President Trump made an unexpected and previously unannounced visit to Dover, Delaware, to welcome home the remains of Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens.
President Trump headed Wednesday to partake for the first time in one of the most solemn rituals of the office, witnessing the return of the body of a Navy SEAL killed this week in the first known counter-terrorism operation of Trump’s presidency.
Trump made an unannounced trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to join the family of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, 36, who died during a raid on a compound used by Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based offshoot in the country’s Bayda province.
The operation began as a mission to gather computers and electronic devices believed to contain information about the organization, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and possibly about terrorist plots in the works. But it devolved unexpectedly into a firefight that also killed more than a dozen women and children.
Among those reportedly killed was the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar Awlaki, the American-born Al Qaeda leader who was based in Yemen and killed in a 2011 drone strike. Awlaki has been cited as the inspiration for several major attacks in the West, including the San Bernardino shootings.
The special operations raid had been planned for more than two months and was awaiting approval, said U.S. officials, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the clandestine operation.
President Obama opted not to sign off on it because plans called for the raid to take place on the next moonless night in Yemen, which was not until Jan. 28, after he left office. Trump then approved the operation after he took office.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 1, 2017
I find the fact that he chose to make this trip without fanfare and keep it closed to the press encouraging. It shows a maturity in the man that I wasn’t quite sure was there. And you can bet this gesture is going to be noticed by the men and women in uniform that he is going to be forced to send into battle the coming months.