Intel

‘We Will See Him Again’: Family Mourns Psyop Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss

August 30, 2021Noelle Wiehe
ryan knauss

US Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss was assigned to the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of the 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne).

US Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss went to a Christian school. He prayed. The devoted husband loved God and his country.


And that’s why Wayne Knauss knows his grandson Ryan is going to greet him in heaven.


“We have five grandchildren. Now we’re down to four,” Knauss, 79, of Corryton, Tennessee, said in a telephone interview with Coffee or Die Magazine. “It’s a sad day for us, but we take comfort in we’ll see him in heaven.


“It means a lot to us.”


Knauss, 23, was the sole soldier killed Thursday, Aug. 26, by a suicide bombing near the Abbey Gate at Kabul’s airport. The other dozen dead belonged to the Marine Corps and Navy. On his second deployment to Afghanistan, Knauss was a member of Company B, 9th Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne), at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 


[ig_post url=”https://twitter.com/1st_SF_Command/status/1431665977394094084″ /]


While in surgery, he succumbed to wounds sustained in the attack. He had arrived in Afghanistan only a week before he died.


“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,” 8th Psychological Operations Group commander Col. Jeremy Mushtare said in a prepared statement released on social media.


Wayne Knauss believes his grandson’s wife, Alena, 23, was the first family member to learn of the tragedy. 


She and Ryan bought a home near Fort Bragg in Pinebluff, North Carolina, in late 2019.


The Knoxville Police Department paid tribute to Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, who died from wounds sustained in a Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, suicide bombing in Afghanistan. Image courtesy of the Knoxville Police Department.

“They fixed it up,” the elder Knauss said. “It had a garden. It had a little chicken house that had some chickens there and a little hothouse for the wintertime for some plants to grow. They were working on the house, making it nicer. We were really proud of the way they work. They were moving along really nice — just an ideal, lovely young couple.”


In Tennessee, the bad news fell first to Ryan’s stepmother, Linnae. She answered her door Thursday and met a senior Army officer flanked by a chaplain and a female soldier from 8th Psychological Operations Group, among others in uniform.


“Ryan’s stepmother, Linnae, knew it was something bad,” Wayne said. “So, she said … ‘You can follow me where Ryan’s father is.”


A telephone call from Linnae, her voice breaking, brought Wayne and Evalena, Ryan’s grandmother, to join them.


“We pretty well knew that something bad was going on,” Wayne Knauss said. “When you see all this, all these black vans and the officers there in their dress, we knew it was bad news.” 


A US Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss of Corryton, Tennessee, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. US Air Force photo by Jason Minto.

He still held out hope that maybe the officers would tell them his grandson was only wounded.


Staff Sgt. Knauss will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Alena Knauss was with President Joe Biden on Sunday when the remains of the 13 service members arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wayne Knauss said.


“He was a great model,” Wayne Knauss said of his grandson. “He’d always finish second or third — somewhere high. He was a competitor. He always wanted to be the best.”


But before he was a soldier, Ryan was a Christian. And he died a Christian.


“We take great comfort in that,” Wayne Knauss said. “We will see him again.”


The 13 American service members killed in the Aug. 26 bombing were:


Lance Cpl. David Lee Espinoza, USMC | Laredo, TX

Sgt. Nicole Gee, USMC | Roseville, CA

Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, USMC | Salt Lake City, UT

Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, US Army | Knoxville, TN

Cpl. Hunter Lopez, USMC | Indio, CA

Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, USMC | Bondurant, WY

Cpl. Dylan Merola, USMC | Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, USMC | Norco, CA

Cpl. Daegan William-Tyeler Page, USMC | Omaha, NE

Sgt. Johanny Rosario, USMC | Lawrence, MA

Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, USMC | Logansport, IN

Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, USMC | Wentzville, MO

Navy Corpsman Maxton Soviak, US Navy | Berlin Heights, OH


Read Next: Last Round: Bars, Restaurants Set Aside 13 Beers as Kabul Tribute




Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect that Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss and his wife bought a home in Pinebluff, North Carolina, not Pine Bluff, Arkansas.



Noelle Wiehe
Noelle Wiehe

Noelle is an award-winning journalist from Cincinnati, Ohio, who came to Coffee or Die Magazine following a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command in college. She worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military as a public affairs specialist attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. Have a story or tip about the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Navy that readers need to know? Email: [email protected]

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Military
‘Butter Butter Jam!’: Troops Loved, and Hated, the M249 SAW

For nearly 50 years, the SAW has played a major role in America’s wars. Now it’s being replaced by new weapons.

February 8, 2023Mac Caltrider
Coffee Or Die Photo
Military
Space Force Vows ‘Above and Beyond’ Cleanup of Maui Spill

Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir, the commander of the U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific, said a team will t...

February 8, 2023Associated Press
Coffee Or Die Photo
Military
Navy Releases First Photos of Chinese Balloon Recovery

In the newest images released by the Navy on Tuesday, sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group...

February 7, 2023Associated Press
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks at the Pentagon in Washington, Nov. 16, 2022. Lawyers for a group of Navy SEALS and other Navy personnel who oppose a COVID-19 vaccination requirement on religious grounds want a federal appeals court to keep alive their legal fight against the Biden administration. Congress voted to end the requirement in December 2022, but vaccine opponents note that commanders can still make decisions on how and whether to deploy unvaccinated troops, under a memo signed last month by Austin. AP photo by Susan Walsh, File.
Military
Vaccine Litigation Lingers After Lifting of Military Mandate

Lawyers for a group of Navy SEALS and other Navy personnel who refuse to be vaccinated for religious...

February 7, 2023Associated Press
Armed Forces Service Medal
Military
Who Earns the Armed Forces Service Medal?

The Department of Defense honors heroism in combat in many ways, but there is also an award — the Ar...

February 7, 2023Noelle Wiehe
Soldiers carry the coffin of Eduard Strauss, a Ukrainian serviceman who died in combat on Jan. 17 in Bakhmut, during a farewell ceremony in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. AP photo by Daniel Cole.
Intel
Russian Forces Keep Up Pressue As Ukraine Anniversary Nears

Russian forces are keeping Ukrainian troops tied down with attacks in the eastern Donbas region as M...

February 7, 2023Associated Press
Chinese spy balloon
Military
Blown to Bits! Chinese Spy Balloon Blasted, Plummets Into Sea

The US Air Force downed the Chinese balloon that's been soaring over the US.

February 4, 2023Carl Prine
germany, european union, ukraine gas reserves
Intel
Ukraine Wants To Store Europe’s Strategic Gas Reserves

Ukraine maintains 12 underground gas storage facilities with a total capacity of about 31 billion cu...

February 3, 2023Nolan Peterson
  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved