Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Father of US Navy SEAL Ryan Owens killed in Yemen raid refuses to meet Donald Trump

Mission had not been signed off by Barack Obama but new US President approved the plan days after taking office

Benjamin Kentish
Wednesday 01 March 2017 02:27 GMT
Trump comforts grieving widow of US Navy SEAL by congratulating her on amount of applause

The father of a US Navy Seal killed in Yemen has refused to meet Donald Trump and demanded an investigation into the mission in which his son died.

William Owens’ son, William “Ryan” Owens, was killed on 29 January in a special forces raid on an al-Qaeda base – the first US serviceman to die in combat under the Trump administration.

The mission had not been signed off by Barack Obama but Mr Trump approved the plan days after taking office.

In addition to the death of the Seal, 20 civilians were killed in the attack, along with 14 al-Qaeda militants. Despite this, the White House claimed the mission was a success.

Mr Owens said he had rejected an invitation to meet the President when Mr Trump travelled to Delaware to be present for the transfer of Ryan’s remains.

“I told them I didn't want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn't let me talk to him”, Mr Owens told The Miami Herald.

The father, who served in the military himself, called for a full investigation into the circumstances that led to his son’s death.

"Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn't even barely a week into his administration?”, he said. “Why?

“For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?"

"Don't hide behind my son's death to prevent an investigation," he added.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said three reviews of the raid will be carried out by the US Department of Defense. One will investigate Mr Owens’ death, another will look into the killing of civilians and the third will probe the loss of a helicopter during the mission.

Mr Spicer also repeated his claims that the mission “achieved its objectives” and “was successful in helping prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation".

"We're very comfortable with how the mission was executed and we'll let the Department of Defense go through that review process and then see where that leads us," he said.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in