Trump’s first authorized military operation resulted in the first combat death of his presidency. The death of a soldier came early for Trump happening just eight days after he took office.
The operation in Yemen this past Saturday, January 28th, had been planned for months under the Obama administration, and was signed off on by Trump shortly after he took office. The raid quickly ran into a messy situation as Special Operation Forces attacked a site believed to be an Al Qaeda intelligence goldmine. The fire fight became brutal. There are reports that the enemy was expecting the raid and were well fortified. Yemeni officials reported that the raid killed 15 civilians, including one 8-year-old girl. It turned out the girl was an American, the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki. Awlaki was an American turned radical jihadist who had joined Al Qaeda. In 2011, he was killed in a drone strike ordered by President Obama.
The Special Forces Operator who was killed, one of 4 wounded, was William “Ryan” Owens. His family stated he was a “devoted father” and “wonderful husband.” Today, President Trump made an unannounced visit to Dover Air Force Base to receive the remains of Owens.
The mission did achieve its goal and important intelligence on the workings of Al Qaeda and their relations with tribal leaders in Yemen were recovered. Up to three senior Al Qaeda members were killed in the raid.
In a statement put out by the White House the President said, “The sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces, and the families they leave behind, are the backbone of the liberty we hold so dear as Americans, united in our pursuit of a safer nation and a freer world. My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member.”
The operation on Saturday in Yemen is a serious reminder that the President is now Commander in Chief and not campaigning for a new job. For Trump, it is a sobering reminder that he is a wartime president and not a rich celebrity property manager.