KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Department of Defense on Saturday announced a local soldier stationed at Fort Bragg was one of the 13 U.S. troops killed in a suicide bombing at Afghanistan’s Kabul airport on Thursday.
Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, originally from Corryton, Tennessee, was killed in Thursday’s bombing, along with 11 Marines and one Navy sailor, the Defense Department said in a news release. Eighteen other U.S. service members were wounded and more than 160 Afghans were killed in the bombing blamed on Afghanistan’s offshoot of the Islamic State group.
Knauss had been stationed at Fort Bragg, and he was part of the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group, the Defense Department said.
In a statement posted on Twitter on Saturday, 8th Psychological Operations Group Col. Jeremy Mushtare said Knauss’ death was “devastating to our formation and Army family.”
“Ryan was the embodiment of an Army Special Operations Forces soldier, a testament to the professionalism of the non-commissioned officer corps, and a steadfast husband and teammate,” the tweet said.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, NC-08, Fort Bragg’s Congressman, said Knauss and his wife, Alena, live in Pinebluff.
“Renee and I join our country in praying for the family of Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, including his wife in Pinebluff and his extended family in Tennessee and Florida,” said Rep. Hudson in a news release. “His loss is felt by our entire Fort Bragg community and our nation will never forget his sacrifice, as well as that of all of our fallen service members. They put their lives on the line to save our fellow citizens and allies in harm’s way. They are heroes.”
Knauss’ hometown, Corryton, is located north of Knoxville. Knauss’ grandfather, Wayne Knauss, told WATE-TV the family received word of Ryan’s death Friday. Knauss said his grandson attended Gibbs High School and grew up in a Christian home.
“A motivated young man who loved his country,” Wayne Knauss said. “He was a believer, so we will see him again in God’s heaven.”
Alena Knauss works in Southern Pines at The MOD Shop. The shop announced on its Facebook page it started a gift card collection for the family. For more information regarding donations, please call The MOD Shop at (910) 725-0707.
Also, a memorial fund has been set up by The Sandhills Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America for the family. Please click here to donate.
Feature photo of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss courtesy of U.S. Army Special Forces Command.
This article was written with the help of The Associated Press.
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