Biden to attend dignified transfer of fallen troops killed in Jordan drone attack

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President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will on Friday take part in the dignified transfer of the remains of three troops killed in the Iran-backed militia attack in Jordan last weekend.

The Bidens will join the grieving families of the three American service members who died when a drone struck a base, known as Tower 22, near the demilitarized zone on the border between Jordan and Syria. The Iraqi border is only six miles away.

The fallen troops were Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, Spc. Kennedy Landon Sanders, 24, and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, all of whom were from Georgia. Sanders and Moffett were posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant. The soldiers were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, Fort Moore, Georgia

More than 40 troops were also injured in Sunday’s drone attack.

This combination of photos provided by Shawn Sanders, left, and the U.S. Army, center and right, show from left to right, Spc. Kennedy Sanders, Sgt. William Jerome Rivers and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett. The three U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from Georgia were killed by a drone strike Sunday, January 28, 2024, on their base in Jordan near the Syrian border.

TOWER 22 EXPLAINED: WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE SITE OF THE LATEST ATTACK AGAINST US SOLDIERS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. CQ Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will join the Bidens for the solemn ritual at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. 

President Biden is not expected to speak during the dignified transfer, according to The AP.

“These service members embodied the very best of our nation: Unwavering in their bravery. Unflinching in their duty. Unbending in their commitment to our country — risking their own safety for the safety of their fellow Americans, and our allies and partners with whom we stand in the fight against terrorism,” Biden said earlier this week. “It is a fight we will not cease.” 

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, the president said yes when asked whether he had decided on a response, but he did not offer any details.

According to the AP, Moffett joined the Army Reserves in 2019 while she also worked for a home care provider to cook, clean and run errands for people with disabilities.

President Joe Biden speaking

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the St. John Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, on January 28, 2024. He and First Lady Jill Biden will on Friday take part in the dignified transfer of the remains of three troops killed in the Iran-backed militia attack in Jordan last weekend. (KENT NISHIMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

Sanders worked at a pharmacy while studying to become an X-ray technician and coached children’s soccer and basketball, and Rivers joined the Army Reserve in New Jersey in 2011 and served a nine-month tour in Iraq in 2018.

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The deaths were the first U.S. fatalities blamed on Iran-backed militia groups, who for months have been intensifying their attacks on American forces in the region following the onset of the Israel-Hamas war in October. Separately, two Navy SEALs died during a January mission to board an unflagged ship that was carrying illicit Iranian-made weapons to Yemen.

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said the “fallen” heroes had been deployed to Jordan in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and the international coalition working to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS. 

tower 22 jordan map

A map depicting the location of Tower 22 in northeast Jordan, near the borders of Syria and Iraq.  (Fox News)

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The soldiers’ deaths marked a major escalation of violence in the ongoing attacks on U.S. forces in the region. The Biden administration has blamed these attacks on Iran-backed militia groups in Syria and Iraq who have struck American targets in retaliation for the U.S.’ support of Israel in its ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza that began on October 7. 

Austin has said that he and the president would not tolerate any attack on U.S. forces and “will take all necessary actions to defend the U.S. and our troops.”

Friday’s dignified transfer will be the second that Biden will have attended as president. He took part in a ritual in August 2021 after 13 service members were killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul during the military’s chaotic withdrawal of Afghanistan.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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