KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A soldier from east Tennessee was one of 13 U.S. troops killed in a suicide bombing at Afghanistan’s Kabul airport this week, the Department of Defense said Saturday.
Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, was killed in Thursday’s bombing, along with 11 Marines and one Navy sailor, the Defense Department said in a news release. Eighteen other U.S. service members were wounded and more than 160 Afghans were killed in the bombing blamed on Afghanistan’s offshoot of the Islamic State group.
Knauss had been stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and he was part of the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group, the Defense Department said.
In a statement posted on Twitter on Saturday, 8th Psychological Operations Group Col. Jeremy Mushtare said Knauss’ death was “devastating to our formation and Army family.”
“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,“ the tweet said.
Corryton is located north of Knoxville. Knauss’ grandfather, Wayne Knauss, told WATE-TV the family received word of Ryan’s death Friday. Knauss said his grandson attended Gibbs High School and grew up in a Christian home.
“A motivated young man who loved his country,” Wayne Knauss said. “He was a believer, so we will see him again in God’s heaven.”
Stepmother Linnae Knauss said Ryan planned to move to Washington after he returned to the U.S.
“He was a super-smart hilarious young man,” she said.