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Thursday, February 09, 2017

Victims of the failed Yemen raid and heroes of SealTeam6

Chief Petty Officer Ryan Owens (SCPO). Seal Team 6. May he rest in peace.  Grieving with his family are his heroic colleagues in the Seal Team Six- America's Naval Special Warfare Development Group.You can be just as sure that the SEALs were heartbroken when Owens was killed.

Image result for Seal Team 6 logo
The Navy SEAL Who Gave All in Yemen-by Michael Daly
After 12 deployments, Ryan Owens—who spent his adult life fighting in America’s longest war—became its first casualty under its third commander in chief.

Owens telephoned his high school pal Cody Jackson and announced himself with his "high school nickname". 

“This is O-Dog,” Owens said. “What are you up to?” “Not much,” Jackson replied. “What are you doing?”
“Living the dream,” Owens said.

Jackson had no doubt this was entirely true, even after a decade of wartime active duty, more than twice the length of America’s part of World War II. Owens was a man who was doing exactly what he had always wanted to do. He along the way received three Bronze Stars and numerous other medals.

Early Sunday, Owens headed into action yet again with SEAL Team 6. The planning for this pre-dawn mission had begun during the last days of the Obama administration and the final approval had come during the first days of the Trump administration, as it no doubt would have if Hillary Clinton had won.

Seal Team 6 swooped into Yemen targeting several senior members of the al Qaeda, supposed to include Qasim al-Raymi, the current emir of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. (Al-Raymi is one of 23 men who escaped in the 3 February 2006 prison-break in Yemen, along with other notable al-Qaeda members. in the Arabian Peninsula, whose own targets had, in the past, included American jetliners).

In fact, the alQaeda group is particularly diabolical in devising bombs.

Therefore, the SEAL mission's added goal was “site exploitation,” collecting computers and other intelligence that might help thwart future terrorist attacks on Americans.

Even the best trained and most experienced operators can encounter the unexpected. One of the support aircraft had what was termed a “hard landing.” And a gunfight erupted where the SEALs found themselves under heavy fire from two sides.

By several reports, eight-year-old Nawar Anwar al-Awlaki was fatally wounded. She was the daughter of Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a drone strike in 2011. His teachings had since inspired a number of terrorist attacks in the United States.

But you can be sure that nobody on SEAL 6 was anything but sickened by Nawar’s death. You can be just as sure that the SEALs were heartbroken when Chief Petty Officer Owens was killed.

“People always say the guy was a great guy,” said a counter-terror officer who knew him. “He really was a great guy.”

Word reached Jackson in Chillicothe via a news alert on his phone. He was waiting for his 5-year-old daughter to get out of dance class when he saw a report that a SEAL from the area had been killed.

“I said, ‘No, I hope that’s not Ryan,’” Jackson would recall.

The SEAL was then identified as 36-year-old Chief Special Operator William Ryan Owens.

“As tough as this is to say, he wouldn’t want it any other way,” Jackson later said. “He wanted to serve his country and protect the freedoms that we have. From the day I met him, that’s all he ever talked about.”

Jackson went into the building where the dance class was being held and saw another of Owens’ high school pals, who was also waiting for a kid in the class and who had also just received the terrible news. They looked at each other.

“You got to keep it together,” Jackson later said.

The kids were dancing as if the world were only a free and wonderful place. Jackson later said that this is what Owens and his fellow SEALs risked all to make possible.

“The things that people take for granted are what they’re fighting for,” Jackson told The Daily Beast.

Owens had done so for year after year even though he had four kids of his own at home. Jackson spoke of his fallen friend just as his fellow SEALs do.

“Always a great friend, always had your back willing to do anything for you, always a good guy,” Jackson said.

And much the same was said about the onetime Grey Ghosts catcher by the present-day Giants catcher.

“For me, it is easy to take for granted the life that my family and I get to live every day,” Posey posted on Instagram. “Words don't do justice for the gratitude that I have for people like Ryan that sacrifice their lives fighting against evil, so that we may live with freedom.”

Nobody would forget that an 8-year-old girl and a number of other civilian non-combatants had been reported killed during the fierce gunfight, in which women as well as men are said to have fired on the SEALs.

And nobody could regret the child’s death more than did Seal Team 6, which had added to its own risk during the 2011 raid on the Osama bin Laden’s compound when it paused to move a group of women and children out of harm’s way before detonating explosives to destroy a downed helicopter that had classified stealth technology.

Trump and his daughter Ivanka flew to Dover Air Force Base to stand with Owens’ family as an honor guard carried his flag draped coffin from a C-17 transport plane. The same credit was due Obama when he twice stood on this same tarmac to witness this somber ritual known as a dignified transfer.

At that moment, Donald Trump represented the United States of America. He also was the man who ordered the flawed execution of the failed Yemen raid.

God Bless and protect the family of Chief Petty Officer Ryan Owens. Now, as a result of this fiasco and the preventable loss of lives, the Yemen government has denied the United States the right to access any more special operations missions. Apparently, the potential goals associated with ordering this failed raid were not worth the risks. It makes no sense to me that the US Congress has not launched an investigation into this failed operation.  

+We mourn.

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