WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, President Donald Trump signed into law H.R. 3109, legislation introduced by Congressman Darin LaHood to rename the Chillicothe, Illinois U.S. post office in honor of U.S. Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens. The bill was co-sponsored by the entire Illinois congressional delegation.
“We are forever indebted to Senior Chief Ryan Owens and we will never fully repay him, or his family, for his dedication and sacrifice to our nation. However, I am pleased to announce that, with the signature from President Trump today, our local community may honor the legacy of Chief Owens by officially naming the U.S. post office in his hometown of Chillicothe,” stated Congressman LaHood. “It was my honor to introduce this legislation to recognize Chief Owens and I applaud my colleagues in the House and Senate for passing this legislation and I thank President Trump for signing this bill into law.”
“Ryan’s immediate and extended family are very grateful for this time honoring gesture on behalf of their beloved hero,” said Pattie Smith, President of America’s Gold Star Families. “Legislation such as this will serve as a daily reminder to us all ‘Freedom isn’t free!’ May we all walk worthy of the ultimate sacrifice Ryan has paid.”
“Even as a high school boy here in Chillicothe, Ryan knew he wanted to serve in the military,” said Chillicothe Mayor Don White. “Ryan was a very respectful kid. He respected his teachers and coaches, he respected his elders and all veterans, he respected the armed forces and the flag. Ryan was destined to be a hero. The City of Chillicothe is proud to have had an influence on the young man that grew up to become the heroic serviceman he proved to be.”
More on Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens:
Owens grew up in Edelstein, Illinois, aspiring to be a Navy SEAL from an early age. Upon graduating from Illinois Valley Central High School in Chillicothe in 1998, Owens enlisted in the Navy. After initially training as a cryptologic technician, he served his first tour of duty at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Suitland, Maryland. He then attended basic and advanced SEAL training in Coronado, California, completing training in December 2002. He was selected for chief petty officer in 2009. His first tour as a SEAL was at a West Coast unit, followed by three consecutive East Coast unit tours. He was on his fifth team tour for just over two years when he was killed on an intelligence-gathering operation on al-Qaeda in Yemen.
Owens died on January 29, 2017, at the age of 36, from wounds received during a raid conducted with the famed SEAL Team Six. He is survived by his wife, Carryn, their three children, and his father William. His mother, Patricia, preceded him in death in 2013.
Along with his SEAL Trident and Basic Parachutist wings, he is qualified to wear the following awards:
Navy/Marine Corps Medal
Bronze Star with Combat “V” (2 awards)
Joint Service Commendation Medal with Combat “V” (2 awards)
Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2 awards)
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards)
Combat Action Ribbon
Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2 awards)
Good Conduct Medal (6 awards)
Presidential Unit Citation (3 awards)
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (8 awards)