February 20, 2024

Funerals getting underway in Georgia for 3 Army Reserve soldiers killed in Jordan drone attack

Family, mates and navy colleagues are gathering in Georgia as funerals start for three Army Reserve soldiers killed final month in a drone attack on a U.S. base in Jordan.

The first funeral service was scheduled Tuesday morning for Staff Sgt. William Jerome Rivers at a Baptist church in Carrollton, west of Atlanta.

The 46-year-old reservist and Pennsylvania native, who’s survived by his spouse and son in Georgia, served in uniform for greater than a decade after enlisting as an electrician. The Army stated his abroad deployments included a nine-month tour in Iraq in 2018. His obituary from a neighborhood funeral house referred to as him a warm-hearted household man with a “gentle demeanor and a fierce and determined personality.”

Following the church service, Rivers is to be buried on the Georgia National Cemetery for navy veterans in Canton, simply northwest of Atlanta.

A Jan. 28 drone strike on a U.S. navy outpost in Jordan killed Rivers in addition to Sgt. Kennedy Sanders and Sgt. Breonna Moffett, who all obtained their ranks in posthumous promotions. They had been assigned to the Army Reserve’s 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, primarily based at Fort Moore in west Georgia.

President Joe Biden met with the households of the fallen soldiers when their stays had been returned to U.S. soil earlier this month at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

Meanwhile, mates, former classmates and colleagues have gathered to recollect the slain soldiers whereas awaiting their last homecoming to Georgia.

In Waycross, the place 24-year-old Sanders labored at a pharmacy and helped coach kids’s basketball and soccer groups, residents gathered at a downtown park for a second of silence shortly after the abroad attack. Her funeral is scheduled Saturday at Ware County Middle School.

Arrangements in Savannah had been nonetheless pending for Moffett, who turned 23 barely every week earlier than she died. Since then, she has been honored with a ceremony at Windsor Forest High School, the place she was a drum main and JROTC cadet earlier than graduating in 2019. A candlelight vigil was held by Moffett’s employer, United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia, the place she helped train cooking and different abilities to individuals with disabilities.

The deaths had been the primary U.S. fatalities blamed on Iran-backed militia teams after months of intensified assaults on American forces in the area for the reason that Israel-Hamas battle started in October.

More than 40 troops had been additionally injured in the drone attack at Tower 22, a secretive U.S. navy desert outpost that permits U.S. forces to infiltrate and quietly depart Syria.


Bynum reported from Savannah, Georgia.