Army Posthumously Promotes Third Soldier Killed in Jordan Attack as Remains Arrive at Dover

Transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Sgt. William Jerome Rivers
An Army carry team moves the flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga., during a casualty return at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. Rivers was killed in a drone attack in Jordan on Jan. 28. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The U.S. Army announced Friday that it posthumously promoted one of the Georgia-based soldiers killed after a drone attack struck an installation in Jordan late last month.

Sgt. William Rivers, 46, was promoted to staff sergeant, according to U.S. Army Reserve Command. Sgt. Kennedy Sanders and Sgt. Breonna Moffett -- two other soldiers from the same unit who were killed in the attack by an Iran-linked militia that injured more than 40 service members -- were posthumously promoted earlier this week.

The promotions came in advance of the soldiers' dignified remains transfer at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on Friday, where President Joe Biden attended the second remains transfer of his presidency. The first was after 13 service members were killed during the chaotic military withdrawal of Afghanistan.

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Senior military leaders, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, were in attendance. The three soldiers were killed when a one-way drone struck their container housing units at Tower 22, a small logistics base on Jordan's border with Syria, according to the Pentagon.

According to The Associated Press, the Bidens, including first lady Jill Biden, met privately with the families of the fallen before the dignified transfer ceremony.

On Thursday, during a press conference, Austin said that the drone attack on Tower 22 was conducted by the "axis of resistance, and these are Iranian proxy groups."

"How much Iran knew or didn't know, we don't know," he said. "But it really doesn't matter because Iran sponsors these groups, it funds these groups and, in some cases, it trains these groups on advanced conventional weapons."

The soldiers were assigned to Georgia's 718th Engineer Company, an Army Reserve unit.

"I am honored to announce the posthumous promotion of Sgt. William Rivers from sergeant to staff sergeant," Brig. Gen. Noel Palmer, the deputy commanding general of the 412th Theater Engineer Command, said in a press release Friday.

It is unclear why the posthumous promotions did not occur simultaneously.

"This advancement in rank is a recognition of his courage, honor and fidelity in service to this great nation," Palmer said. "Though we mourn the tragic loss of Staff Sgt. Rivers, we hope this recognition provides some comfort to this family and shows our commitment to remember his legacy of loyal service."

Rivers enlisted in the Army Reserve in 2011 as an interior electrician. In 2018, he deployed to Iraq in support of the U.S.'s mission to ensure the defeat of ISIS. Rivers will be honored in Carroll County, Georgia, where his name will be added to the county's veterans memorial.

"Throughout his service, he demonstrated a deep commitment to his fellow soldiers and the mission," the press release said.

Related: Army Posthumously Promotes 2 Georgia Soldiers Who Were Killed by Iran Militia Drone Attack in Jordan

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