Ryan Owens' Father Wants His Death Investigated

by Chris Tognotti
Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

If there was any single moment in President Trump's first-ever address before a joint session of Congress that generated attention and acclaim, it was the standing ovation given to Carryn Owens, the widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who died in the now-infamous Yemen raid in late January. But there's another member of the slain soldier's immediate family who wasn't in attendance, and who's been fiercely critical of Trump's involvement in the botched Yemen raid ― Ryan's father Bill Owens, who has called for an investigation into his son's death.

The elder Owens, according to, is also a military veteran, and formerly worked as a police detective in the city of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Along with the rest of Ryan's family, Bill traveled to Dover Air Force base to receive his son's body. He has made no secret of his dim view of President Trump, and didn't engage in any pleasantries when he and his daughter Ivanka paid an unscheduled visit to the base. According to the Miami Herald, the family had requested a private transfer, without media or bystanders present. And Bill had no interest in seeing the president who signed off on the mission, either.

I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him ... 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?

He was also reportedly rankled by statements against the raid's critics from Trump and the White House ― such as from White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who commented during a press briefing that anyone who disputed the success of the raid "does disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens."

Bill decried that logic, and it's not hard to see why ― in calling for an investigation of the raid as he has, Spicer's initial response would seem to suggest he's doing a disservice to his own son's life. "Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation," he said. "I want an investigation ... The government owes my son an investigation."

In other words, it's clear enough that he's not going to be taking a conciliatory tact with the Trump administration, and it's no surprise why he wasn't involved in the president's big speech on Tuesday night.