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East Tennessee service member killed in Kabul attack

SSG Ryan Knauss
Posted at 5:36 PM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-28 15:36:58-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A soldier from East Tennessee was among those killed in this week's Kabul airport attack.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, of Corryton, Tennessee, was one of the 13 United States troops killed in the attack. The 23-year-old was the only Army member that was killed in the attack. He is survived by his wife. He was serving in the 9th Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group for the Army.

"We share in the tremendous grief over the loss of Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, and we stand in support of his wife and entire family during this tragic time," said Col. Jeremy Mushtare, commander, 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne). "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. His loss is devastating to our formation and Army family."

His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Action Badge and the Army Basic Parachutist Badge.

At least 95 Afghans are now confirmed to have been killed in Thursday's blasts, alongside 13 U.S. service members. It marked the deadliest day for American forces fighting in Afghanistan since August 2011, according to the Associated Press.

Evacuation flights from Afghanistan have resumed with new urgency a day after the two suicide bombings targeted thousands fleeing the Taliban takeover. The group ISIS-K took responsibility for the attack.

The U.S. says further attempted attacks are expected ahead of the Tuesday deadline for foreign troops to leave, ending America’s longest war.


Several Tennessee lawmakers have issued statements in response to Knauss' death.

"Ryan Knauss gave his life outside Hamid Karzai International Airport helping people he didn’t know get to safety. This is what true heroism looks like and Ryan’s sacrifice will never be forgotten. The Knauss family is in my prayers."
- Representative Tim Burchett:
"Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss of Knoxville was among those service members killed during yesterday’s terrorist attack at the Kabul airport. Ryan embodies American heroism — saving people he had never met before, in the face of persistent evil. We will never forget his sacrifice in service to his country. While no words could ever be enough, I join Tennesseans — and all Americans — in extending my deepest condolences to Ryan’s family. Chuck and I are praying for them during this time of unimaginable pain and loss.”
U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R—Tenn.)
U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty:
“On behalf of all Tennesseans, Chrissy and I extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Ryan Knauss. The Bible teaches us that ‘greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ That’s what Ryan and 12 fellow service members did yesterday. Ryan will be remembered as a brave, honorable, and heroic man—a Tennessee volunteer—who, with a servant’s heart, gave everything of himself at just 23 years old for his state and the country that he loved dearly. My prayers are with the Knauss family, the community of Corryton, those across our state who knew Ryan, and everyone in our country who is grieving the loss of one of these 13 courageous members of the U.S. Armed Forces.”