President Biden on Friday met with the families of American service members killed last month in a drone strike in Jordan and participated in a dignified transfer, a solemn ceremony in which the troops’ remains return to the U.S.
The president and first lady Jill Biden attended the ceremony at Dover Air Force Base along with other U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. C.Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The president and first lady looked on with their hands over their hearts as three flag-draped coffins were removed from a C-5 plane and taken by military personnel to a van.
The Pentagon on Monday identified the soldiers, who all served in the Army Reserve and were assigned to Georgia’s Fort Moore. The soldiers are Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga.; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Ga.; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Ga.
Biden spoke Tuesday with the families of the fallen service members to express his condolences, and he met with them in person on Friday.
“They risked it all,” Biden said at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday. “And we’ll never forget [their] sacrifices and service to our country.”
The three troops were killed and roughly 40 others were injured in a drone strike in Jordan near the Syrian border Sunday. The White House has attributed the attack to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group that contains different militias backed by Iran.
Biden earlier this week said he has decided how to respond to the deadly attack in Jordan, though he has not specified what the U.S. will do and officials have said they do not want to telegraph any response. The White House has stressed it is not seeking a wider war in the Middle East.
Officials have said an eventual response will likely be “tiered”, meaning the U.S. would carry out multiple actions over a period of time.
The president previously attended a dignified transfer in Dover in August 2021 for the return of service members who were killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan.