WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are set to attend a solemn event at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to honor three American servicemembers who were killed in a drone attack in Jordan. The event, known as a “dignified transfer”, has become increasingly uncommon in recent years as the U.S. has withdrawn from conflicts abroad.
The three service members killed in the attack were all from Georgia — Sgt. William Jerome Rivers of Carrollton, Sgt. Kennedy Sanders of Waycross, and Sgt. Breonna Moffett of Savannah. Their deaths mark the first U.S. fatalities attributed to Iran-backed militia groups, whose attacks on American forces in the region have intensified in recent months.
President Biden paid tribute to the fallen service members, praising their bravery and unwavering commitment to their duty and the safety of their fellow Americans and allies in the fight against terrorism. He reiterated the nation’s gratitude for their sacrifice at the National Prayer Breakfast, vowing never to forget their contributions.
The three soldiers, each with unique backgrounds and aspirations, were part of the same company of Army engineers based in Fort Moore. Despite coming from different corners of Georgia, they formed a close bond with one another.
Sgt. Breonna Moffett, who had just turned 23 before she was killed, had joined the Army Reserves in 2019 and also worked for a home care provider for people with disabilities. Sgt. Kennedy Sanders, age 24, worked at a pharmacy while pursuing a career as an X-ray technician and volunteered for deployment to see the world. Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, had served a tour in Iraq in 2018 after joining the Army Reserve in New Jersey in 2011.
The dignified transfer, a ritual that has become less frequent as the U.S. withdraws from conflicts abroad, continues to hold a profound significance for the nation. The event will mark the second dignified transfer President Biden attends during his presidency, having previously participated in a similar event for 13 servicemembers killed during the suicide bombing in Kabul in August 2021. The administration has also indicated that the response to the deadly assault will not be a “one-off” and seeks to avoid a broader war with Iran.
The attack in Jordan also left more than 40 troops injured, underscoring the dangerous and volatile nature of the region. The event at Dover Air Force Base will provide a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by American service members in the ongoing fight against terrorism.