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Father of first military member killed under Trump wants answers

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 26/02/2017 JASON SILVERSTEIN
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Yet another person wants answers about the death of Navy SEAL William (Ryan) Owens: His father.

The grieving dad of the first U.S. military member killed in action during the Trump administration has joined the calls for a probe into whether the deadly mission was put together properly.

He even admitted that he refused to meet President Trump after his son’s death — holding onto his anger from Trump’s antics and his actions in office.

“I want an investigation...The government owes my son an investigation,” Bill Owens told the Miami Herald in his first interview since his son’s death in January.

The younger Owens died in a Yemen raid less than a week into Trump’s presidency — in the first counter-terrorism operation the new commander-in-chief approved.

The White House deemed the mission a success, but numerous reports have raised questions about whether it was executed properly, or even justified in the first place.

“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why?” the father said to the Herald.

President Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump at Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William (Ryan) Owens. - Mark Wilson/Getty Images © Provided by New York Daily News President Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump at Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William (Ryan) Owens. - Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?”

He recalled refusing to meet Trump as the President made his way from Washington to the family’s Florida home.

Owens, who is also a military veteran, said he was disturbed by Trump’s campaign attacks on the Gold Star family of fallen soldier Humayun Khan — and sickened by the idea of shaking the hand of the President who approved his son’s final mission.

“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” Owens said.

His son died just weeks before his 37th birthday, as the lone American fatality in a bloody attack on an Al Qaeda compound. The raid also led to the deaths of several civilians — with Al Qaeda claiming more than 20 fatalities, including women and children — as well as injuries for four American fighters, and the destruction of a $75 million military aircraft.

The White House initially said the raid uncovered information that would help prevent planned terror plots. But when the military released one of the videos obtained in the operation, it turned out to be a decade old and already widely known.

Media reports in the subsequent weeks indicated Trump approved the mission without sufficient intelligence or backup for the troops, and one anonymous official said Trump gave it the green light because he was told former President Obama would not have done so. Trump did not watch the operation in the Situation Room.

Some members of Congress — including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a Navy veteran and former prisoner of war — criticized the mission and demanded answers for what went wrong.

The White House has stuck by calling it a success, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that anyone questioning it was doing a “disservice” to Owens.

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