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Representative Darin LaHood

Representing the 18th District of Illinois

LaHood Introduces Legislation to Rename Chillicothe Post Office in Honor of Fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens

June 30, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Darin LaHood introduced H.R. 3109 in the U.S. House of Representatives to rename the Chillicothe, Illinois U.S. post office in honor of U.S. Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens. 

“We are forever indebted to Chief Owens and we will never fully repay him, or his family, for his dedication to our nation,” stated LaHood. “The naming of the Chillicothe post office is a small way to honor and pay tribute to the service of Ryan Owens, and will be a humble reminder of his sacrifice to protect the freedoms we enjoy each and every day. It is an honor and a privilege to introduce this legislation with the support of Ryan’s family, as they hold a special place in our hearts here in Central Illinois. He will forever be in our thoughts.”

Owens died on January 29, 2017, at the age of 36, from wounds received during a raid conducted in Yemen. He is survived by his wife and three young children. His grandmother remains a resident of Chillicothe to this day. In February, his wife was invited by President Trump to attend his speech before a joint session of Congress. During the speech, the President recognized Ryan’s sacrifice to sustained applause of support for his widow, Carryn, and family.

If signed into law, the bill would formally rename the post office the “Sr. Chief Ryan Owens Post Office Building” in recognition of his heroism and service to our nation. This bipartisan legislation, cosponsored by the entire Illinois delegation, has been referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and will continue through the legislative process. Congressman LaHood was pleased to consult with the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Navy Congressional Liaisons Office, Central Illinois Gold Star Families, and Owens’s widow on this effort.

“Even as a high school boy here in Chillicothe, Ryan knew he want 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.”

“Ryan Owens reflected the embodiment of patriotism that is alive and well in the city of Chillicothe. His life and deeds are a testament to his upbringing and family. It is fitting that his name will be permanently etched in the city,” stated David Hirtz, Retired FBI Special Agent.

“We are so proud of our hometown hero Senior Chief Petty Officer Ryan Owens and grateful to all those who have supported renaming the Chillicothe post office in his honor. It is a fitting tribute to Ryan's legacy of service to our country and will serve as a reminder to us all that freedom isn't free. May his memory be kept alive and inspire generations to come by this new designation Sr. Chief Ryan Owens Post Office Building,” said Patti Smith, President of America’s Gold Star Families.

“The United States Postal Service employs many veterans. We at the National Association of Letter Carriers believe it is just and proper to honor a fallen hero who sacrificed all of his tomorrows, for our today,” said Vic Murrie, National Association of Letter Carriers.

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.

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)
Bronze Star
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)