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Austin to Call Families of Fallen Soldiers

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Jan. 30, 2024) -- Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III is expected to call the families of three soldiers who were killed over the weekend in an attack by an uncrewed aerial system, or UAS, at a military base in Jordan, a Defense Department official said.

"I want to just express again our condolences to the family members and loved ones of the three U.S. soldiers who were killed in Jordan this weekend in the Iran proxy drone attack at Tower 22," said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder during a briefing today. "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with them and Secretary Austin will be calling each of the families to personally relay his respects."

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It is also expected that on Friday Austin will attend the dignified transfer of remains at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. It is during that event that the remains of the three soldiers will be returned to the United States.

The three soldiers killed are: Sgt. William J. Rivers of Carrollton, Georgia; Kennedy L. Sanders of Waycross, Georgia, who was posthumously promoted to sergeant; and Breonna A. Moffett of Savannah, Georgia, who was also posthumously promoted to sergeant.

The soldiers were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade at Fort Moore, Georgia, and were in Jordan to support Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. and coalition mission to ensure the defeat of ISIS.

Following the attack, U.S. Central Command continues to look for answers regarding how an attack drone might have penetrated the facility's air defenses, where it originated, and which Iranian proxy group is responsible.

Ryder also said that any response to the attack in Jordan will be at the discretion of the president.

"When it comes to the situation in Iraq and Syria and Jordan, our troops were attacked, and three U.S. service members were killed and over 40 wounded," Ryder said. "The president and the secretary have both said that we will respond at a time and place of our choosing. ... I'm not going to go into details of what that could look like, other than the fact that there will be consequences."

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