Biden attends dignified transfer of 3 soldiers killed in Jordan drone attack

U.S. soldiers killed in Jordan return home

U.S. service members killed in Jordan return home 02:38

Washington — President Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Friday attended the dignified transfer of the remains of three U.S. soldiers who were killed in an aerial drone attack at an outpost in Jordan last weekend.

The president, first lady, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff C.Q. Brown met with the families of the fallen soldiers at Dover Air Force Base, before observing the somber transfer of the bodies returning home from abroad. 

The three soldiers killed in the attack were Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46; Sgt. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24; and Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23. All three were from Georgia.

President Biden stands as an Army carry team moves the transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett at Dover Air Force Base on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024.
President Biden stands as an Army carry team moves the transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett at Dover Air Force Base on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. Matt Rourke / AP
An Army carry team moves the transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett at Dover Air Force Base on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024.
An Army carry team moves the transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett at Dover Air Force Base on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. Matt Rourke / AP

The strike on the facility in Jordan, known as Tower 22, also injured dozens of U.S. service members. The U.S. has blamed an Iranian-backed militant group based in Iraq for the attack.

Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, Sgt. Kennedy Ladon Sanders and Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett were killed on Jan. 28, 2024, in Jordan.
Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, Sgt. Kennedy Ladon Sanders and Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett were killed on Jan. 28, 2024, in Jordan. Defense Department

Mr. Biden has said he has decided how to respond to the strike, although he hasn’t publicly telegraphed his intentions. U.S. officials confirmed to CBS News on Thursday that plans have been approved for a series of strikes over a number of days against targets — including Iranian personnel and facilities — inside Iraq and Syria.

“This is a dangerous moment in the Middle East,” Austin, the defense chief, said Thursday. “We will continue to work to avoid a wider conflict in the region, but we will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our interests and our people, and we will respond when we choose, where we choose and how we choose.”

A dignified transfer is the process by which the remains of fallen military members are transferred from an aircraft to a vehicle so they can be taken to a mortuary facility. From there, the bodies are prepared for their final resting place and placed in caskets. The U.S. military stresses that dignified transfers are solemn events, not ceremonies. 

David Martin contributed to this report.

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