23-year-old Knoxville soldier killed in Kabul airport attack
A Gibbs High School graduate was killed in the Kabul airport attack that killed 13 Americans.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A 23-year-old Knoxville man was killed in the Kabul airport attack, his family told WVLT News Friday evening. Ryan Knauss was one of the 13 United States troops killed in the attack.
Knauss attended Gibbs High School before joining the Army, his grandmother said. She also said he enrolled right after his graduation. According to family, Ryan was an member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne division and was a staff sergeant.
The attack was carried out by two suicide bombers and gunmen, and also ended in the deaths of 60 Afghans. President Joe Biden promised to strike back at the extremists who killed the 13 Americans.
Knauss had only been in the country for a week before his death, and had previously spent nine months in Afghanistan, his grandmother said.
As an act of remembrance and appreciation for his service to the country, the community has asked for every home to place a small flag on their mailbox or near their mailbox for the coming week, according to a flyer.
William Bensur, from Representative Tim Burchett’s office spoke with Mark Brian, the U.S. Army Casualty Assistance Officer for the family of Knauss. Mr. Brown, on behalf of the Knauss family, requested that Burchett share that Knauss will be brought home to Knoxville for a memorial service but the date, time and location of the service have yet to be announced.
On September 3, a memorial was placed at the crossroads of Emory Ed and Tazewell Pike in the heart of the Gibbs community.
At the memorial, a box will be available for the community to leave notes and cards for the Knauss family. The box will be available for two weeks.
In Dick’s Sporting Goods in West Town Mall in Knoxville, a table with a black box will be available for all comments.
Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs released a statement on Twitter about Knauss.
Congressman Tim Burchett also released a statement mourning the death of Knauss, saying he was a hero.
“Ryan gave his life outside that airport helping people he didn’t know get to safety. This is what true heroism looks like and Ryan’s sacrifice will never be forgotten. The Knauss family is my prayers,” Rep. Burchett said in the statement.
United States Senator Marsha Blackburn released a statement Friday night.
“Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss of Knoxville was among those servicemembers killed during yesterday’s terrorist attack at the Kabul airport. Ryan embodies American heroism — saving people he had never met before, in the face of persistent evil,” she said. “We will never forget his sacrifice in service to his country. While no words could ever be enough, I join Tennesseans — and all Americans — in extending my deepest condolences to Ryan’s family. Chuck and I are praying for them during this time of unimaginable pain and loss.”
The Knoxville Police Department released a statement Saturday morning.
“We mourn the devastating loss of Knoxville native and Gibbs High School graduate Ryan Knauss, who was one of the 13 U.S. service members killed in the Kabul airport attack. We wish for comfort for his family and friends. May his service, sacrifice and courage never be forgotten.” KPD said.
The East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association posted a tribute to Knauss, stating that he was a Psychological Operations NCO and stationed at Fort Bragg.
“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. His loss is devastating to our formation and Army family.” said Col. Jeremy Mushtare, commander of the 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne).
Knauss will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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