‘Never words to describe the weight of these ceremonies’: Body of Knoxville soldier returned home

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(Photos: U.S. Army)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The body of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, a graduate of Gibbs High School who was killed in the terrorist attack at the Kabul airport, was returned stateside late Sunday night. The U.S. Army shared photos from the ceremony on its social media.

Knauss, 23, was one of 13 American service members killed by a suicide bomber from the Islamic State Khorasan group while they had been aiding to help people escape Afghanistan amid the withdrawal of American troops.

President Joe Biden on Sunday met with the families of the 13 U.S. troops killed in the suicide attack near the Kabul airport as the remains of their loved ones returned to U.S. soil from Afghanistan.

Biden and first lady Jill Biden attended the “dignified transfer” of the fallen troops at Dover Air Force Base, a military ritual of receiving the remains of those killed in foreign combat.

According to a release from the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), 23-year-old Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, of Corryton, Tenn., was supporting noncombatant evacuation operations at the time of the attack on Thursday in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The men and women who were killed in the Kabul attack were reportedly the first American service members killed by hostile forces since March 2020.

“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,” Col. Jeremy Mushtare of the 8th Psychological Operations Group. (Airborne) said in a statement. “His loss is devastating to our formation and Army family.”

Knauss leaves behind his wife and extended family out of East Tennessee. Reports indicate Knauss will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Knauss was a member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne division and a staff sergeant assigned to the 9th Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group. He had joined the Army in May 2016. Knauss was the sole Army service member killed in last week’s attack at the Kabul airport; the other service members killed include 11 Marines and a Navy medic.

The attacks killed at least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops, Afghan and U.S. officials said. More than 140 Afghans were wounded, an Afghan official said.

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