WASHINGTON - During President Donald Trump's speech before a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, a slain military hero with Peoria Illinois roots and his wife were honored with a two-minute long applause.
"We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Special Operator Senior Chief William 'Ryan' Owens," Trump said. "Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero — battling against terrorism and securing our nation."
Trump added: "I just spoke to Gen. Mattis, who reconfirmed that, and I quote, 'Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies.'"
"Ryan's legacy is etched into eternity," Trump said. Turning towards Owens' widow, the president said: "Thank you."
The audience - made up of Congress members and their guests - applauded for two minutes.
Owens, 36, graduated from Illinois Valley Central High School in 1998 and joined the Navy soon after. His dream was to be in the Navy Seals - a dream he was living when he was killed in Yemen late January.
Owens left behind his wife Carryn and four children.
The Military Times reported Owens exemplary military history:
After initially training as a cryptologic technician (communications), he served his initial tour of duty at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Suitland, Maryland, before attending basic and advanced SEAL training in Coronado, California, completing training in December 2002.
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 when he was killed. He'd been with that unit just over two years.
He was selected for chief petty officer in 2009.
Along with his SEAL Trident and Basic Parachutist wings, he is qualified to wear the following awards:
Navy/Marine Corps MedalBronze Star w/Combat “V” (2 awards)Bronze StarJoint Service Commendation Medal w/Combat “V” (2 awards)Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2 awards)Joint Service Achievement MedalNavy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards)Combat Action RibbonJoint Meritorious Unit Award (2 awards)Good Conduct Medal (6 awards)Presidential Unit Citation (3 awards)National Defense Service MedalAfghanistan Campaign MedalGlobal War on Terrorism Expeditionary MedalGlobal War on Terrorism Service MedalSea Service Deployment Ribbon (8 awards)