PEORIA — Measures passed in the U.S. Senate will allow two area post offices to be named after a soldier and a SEAL who died in combat.
Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, the U.S. senators from Illinois, issued a joint statement that the Senate had passed legislation renamed the post offices in Fairview and Chillicothe after Army Sgt. Douglas J. Riney and Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, respectively.
Renaming the post offices after Riney and Owens "will serve as a humble reminder of the ultimate sacrifice both men made for our country,” the senators said.
The bills will now go to the White House, where they will likely be signed into law soon.
On Jan. 29, 2017, Owens died of wounds from a firefight during an intelligence-gathering raid in Yemen. The Defense Department said Owens was assigned to an East Coast-based special warfare unit, but multiple news outlets have said Owens was assigned to SEAL Team 6, a highly classified and elite counter-terrorism unit that also is known by the term DEVGRU. Three other sailors, presumably with the same SEAL team, were injured in the raid. The raid left nearly 30 others dead, including an estimated 14 militants. At least one young girl also died during the raid.
Owens, a 1998 graduate of Illinois Valley Central High School, enlisted in the Navy immediately after graduation. He deployed several times and received a slew of honors and awards while in service including two Bronze Stars and three Presidential Unit citations.
Riney, 26, was serving with Support Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas, when he was killed on Oct. 19, 2016, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Riney graduated from Spoon River Valley High School and also volunteered as a firefighter with the Fairview Fire Protection Unit before joining the Army. While in the service, he earned the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal and the Purple Heart, among other commendations.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.