Knauss family remembers East Tennessee’s most recent Purple Heart recipient

Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss was given a Purple Heart after being killed in the Kabul bombing last August.
Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 4:40 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2022 at 8:21 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Aug 26, 2021, is a date Ryan Knauss’ parents will always remember. He and 12 other service members were killed in the Kabul bombing on that day.

“I was blessed to be his dad,” Greg Knauss said.

Greg Knauss said his son was a great student and person. He described his son’s smile as more of a smirk but very memorable.

“So much of this journey has been so many emotions all together at the same time,” Greg Knauss said.

Weeks after he was killed in Kabul, his mother and father visited Fort Bragg in a very emotional ceremony where Ryan was awarded a Purple Heart.

“It’s a great honor, and he would greatly be honored if he were wounded and still received the Purple Heart. He would be greatly honored,” Ryan’s mother Paula Knauss Selph said.

Although the awards show people Ryan Knauss’ accomplishments, Selph said she wishes her son was still with us.

“He sacrificed up to his own life and that is something you can be proud of if you know someone who has been given a Purple Heart and lived to see the day,” Selph said.

Staff Sgt. Knauss is among the million other U.S. service members to receive a Purple Heart; the oldest military medal in U.S. history. His parents said honor and pride are two things they will always talk about when speaking of Ryan.

“It’s something you don’t want to get. But, when you do get it, you make sure you honor the person for the sacrifice,” Selph said.

Greg Knauss said, “I won’t say an accomplishment because it’s sad why you receive it. It’s not a good thing, but it’s an honor. It’s a huge honor.”

Staff Sgt. Knauss was awarded a Congressional Gold Star. His family said there will be a ceremony on Aug. 26 to honor those killed in Kabul.

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