A memorial service for Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss will be held Saturday at Gibbs High School football stadium in Corryton, TN, his hometown.
Army officials identified Knauss as one of 13 servicemembers killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul in the final days leading up to our country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to Pentagon officials, he is believed to be the last American military fatality in the 20-year U.S. war.
Knauss, 23, was a member of the 9th Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group based at Fort Bragg. He and his wife, Alena, resided in Pinebluff.
On Thursday morning, hundreds of East Tennessee residents lined a procession route to welcome him home, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Family members said that he enlisted in the Army immediately after graduating from Gibbs High School in 2016. Knauss had recently completed psychological operations training and hoped to be stationed in Washington, D.C. He previously completed a nine-month tour in Afghanistan in 2017 and 2018, as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, which is also based at Fort Bragg.
Knauss was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson cosponsored legislation to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Knauss and the other 12 U.S. military servicemembers who were killed in Afghanistan last month.