Bill Owens, father of slain Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, recently revealed in an interview that he was hesitant to meet US President Donald Trump when his son was brought home. The brief, quiet ceremony on February 1 saw the president and his daughter Ivanka make an unannounced visit to honor the fallen soldier, who was killed in a firefight with insurgents in Yemen.
Speaking to The Miami Herald, Bill Owens stated that he was made aware that US President Donald Trump was coming to Dover Air Force base from Washington to pay his respects to his fallen son. Speaking to a chaplain, however, Owens stated that he did not want to see the president.
“I’m sorry, I don’t want to see him. I told them I don’t want to meet the President,” he said, according to the Herald.
The Yemen raid, which ultimately took the life of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, happened on January 28, just six days after President Trump was inaugurated. Intended as a quick, precise mission, the operation, which involved a team of elite Navy SEALs, eventually turned into an hour-long firefight against well-armed insurgents.
A New York Times report, citing US military officials, described the chaotic operation in simple, albeit alarming terms. According to the report, “everything went wrong” in the Yemen raid, with Chief Petty Officer Owens getting killed and a $75-million military aircraft being intentionally destroyed. Apart from the toll it took on the military, the ill-fated mission was also speculated to have killed as many as 29 civilians, including a number of children.
With the operation that killed his son appearing to be a gross misjudgment on the president’s part, Bill Owens stated in his interview with the Herald that his conscience discouraged him from meeting the US president.
“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” he said.
The ill-fated mission, despite the loss of American life and valuable military equipment that resulted from it, was dubbed by the White House as a success. According to the Trump administration, the high-risk mission resulted in the capture of pertinent intelligence information. For Bill Owens, however, the mission appeared to have been a haphazard operation, especially since Trump had only been in office for six days when the operation was greenlighted.
“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? 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?”
Unsurprisingly, critics of the White House and the Trump administration’s political opponents, including Sen. John McCain, have condemned the Yemen operation, with many stating that the mission should never have been greenlighted. The administration, however, maintained that those who question the ill-fated military operation’s success are dishonoring the memory of the fallen Navy SEAL. Bill Owens, however, stated that the opposite is true.
“Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation. I want an investigation. The government owes my son an investigation,” he said.
The late Ryan Owens belongs to a family of servicemen. His father, Bill, is a military veteran, and his older brother, John, is also a Navy SEAL. The eldest brother in the family, Michael, also joined the Navy before becoming a police officer in Hollywood. In memory of his fallen son, Bill Owens described Ryan to be a person whose positivity is apparent.
“He was always happy. Every picture you see he has a smile on his face. He just had a real positive attitude,” he said.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]