Native Tennessean Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss Returns Home

Sep 09, 2021 at 11:08 am by Cynthialynn Jones

The body of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss is scheduled to land at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, according to officials with the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association.

The convoy escorting him to Mynatt Funeral Home will take Alcoa Hwy. to 275 East to I-75 North to Emory Road.

“It is requested if you’re out on the road tomorrow to please pull over to the right and allow this escort to come through without any problems,” officials with the ETVMA said in a Facebook post.

A private service will be held for the family on Friday, Sept. 10, and they ask the public to respect their privacy at that time.

The public is invited to honor the memory of Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss at a public memorial service at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11 at Gibbs High School in Corryton, Tennessee.

Knauss was one of the 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 26.

He joined the Army service in May 2016, according to his military records, and had previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2017 before completing the Psychological Operations Qualification Course and being assigned to the 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne). Among his awards and decorations are the Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, and National Defense Service Medal. 

He was the “embodiment of an Army Special Operations Forces soldier,” his commander, Col. Jeremy Mushtare said in an Army press release, “a testament to the professionalism of the non-commissioned officer corps, and a steadfast husband and teammate.” 

What press releases often don’t include, however, are personal details about the fallen soldier. The kind of details that only a spouse, who is mentioned in a single line at the end of a list of their soldier’s achievements, can tell you.

Like that he was “brilliant,” as Alena Knauss told Anderson Cooper on CNN about her husband. She’d always thought he needed to be a history professor. But since the second grade, Alena said, Ryan had wanted to be in the military. “He was just so brilliant,” she said. “He could have done whatever he wanted, but he wanted to serve his country.” 


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