President, First Lady to Attend Dignified Transfer at Air Base

Remains of troops killed in Jordan attack are being returned to US soil Friday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 2, 2024 4:36 AM CST
Biden to Attend 'Dignified Transfer' at Dover Base
This combination of photos provided by Shawn Sanders, left, and the US Army, center and right, show from left to right, Spc. Kennedy Sanders, Sgt. William Jerome Rivers and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett.   (Shawn Sanders and U.S. Army via AP)

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden will join grieving families at Dover Air Force Base on Friday to honor three American service members killed in a drone attack in Jordan, a solemn ritual that has become relatively uncommon in recent years as the US withdrew from conflicts abroad. The Bidens will attend what the military calls a "dignified transfer" as the remains of the troops killed in the overnight assault Sunday return to US soil, the AP reports. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will join the Bidens for the transfer in Dover, where such events take place when US service members are killed in action. Friday will be the second dignified transfer Biden attends as president. In August 2021, he took part in the ritual for the 13 service members killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul.

The service members killed Sunday were all from Georgia—Sgt. William Jerome Rivers of Carrollton, Sgt. Kennedy Sanders of Waycross, and Sgt. Breonna Moffett of Savannah. Sanders and Moffett were posthumously promoted to sergeant rank. "These service members embodied the very best of our nation: Unwavering in their bravery. Unflinching in their duty. Unbending in their commitment to our country—risking their own safety for the safety of their fellow Americans, and our allies and partners with whom we stand in the fight against terrorism," Biden said earlier this week. "It is a fight we will not cease."

Rivers, Sanders, and Moffett hailed from different corners of Georgia but were brought together in the same company of Army engineers that was based in Fort Moore. Sanders and Moffett, in particular, were close friends who regularly popped in on each other's phone calls with their families back home.

  • Moffett had turned 23 years old just nine days before she was killed. She had joined the Army Reserves in 2019, but also worked for a home care provider to cook, clean and run errands for people with disabilities.
  • Sanders, 24, worked at a pharmacy while studying to become an X-ray technician and coached children's soccer and basketball. She had volunteered for the deployment because she wanted to see different parts of the world, according to her parents.
  • Rivers, who was 46 years old and went by Jerome, joined the Army Reserve in New Jersey in 2011 and served a nine-month tour in Iraq in 2018.
(More US military stories.)

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