Remains of Three Service Members Killed In Jordan Drone Attack Will Be Returned to U.S. Friday As Biden Vows to ‘Hold All Those Responsible to Account’

The families of the three service members from Georgia killed during a drone strike in Jordan last weekend are grieving the sudden loss of their loved ones. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and President Joe Biden are expected to receive the remains of the three Army Reserve soldiers on Friday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

“My soul is so broken,” Spec. Breonna Moffett’s mother, Francine Moffett, said on CNN’s “NewsNight” on Monday. “[She] was always an amazing person. She just lights up a room whenever she walks in. She was my firstborn. And she was always there for everybody.”

Remains of Three Service Members Killed In Jordan Drone Attack Will Be Returned to U.S. Friday As Biden Vows to 'Hold All Those Responsible to Account'
Spc. Kennedy Sanders (left), Sgt. William Rivers (middle) and Spec. Breonna Moffett (right) were killed during a drone attack in Jordan. (Photos: Facebook)

Moffett, 23, as well as Spc. Kennedy Sanders, 24, and Sgt. William Rivers, 46, was killed by a drone launched by a group U.S. officials say is called Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an Iran-backed umbrella group operating in the region. The soldiers were assigned to the 718 Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, and 926th Engineer Brigade, located in Fort Moore, about 10 miles from Columbus, Georgia.

The incident, which is under investigation, happened at the base in northeastern Jordan, impacting an area where soldiers were resting. Dozens of others were also injured from the blast, including eight people who were evacuated and transported for medical treatment, according to reports. 

It stemmed from a potential mix-up when the opposing drone trailed the US drone into the base in Jordan, leading to it not being deemed as a threat, per the outlet citing preliminary details. The drone also flew at a low altitude, so the base’s air defense systems didn’t detect it.

The deaths mark the first American fatalities amid a wave of attacks from militant groups since the Israel-Hamas conflict started last October, NBC News reported. Biden released a statement emphasizing that “we’ll hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing.”

Officials have determined the drone was fired by Iran-backed militants and was tracked back to Syria.

Moffett, who received the Army Service Ribbon and National Defense Service Medal, enjoyed being in the military, according to her family.

“She became the second female in the family to join the military. And she’s very proud of herself. And I was always very proud of her,” Francine Moffett added on “NewsNight.” “Because if that’s the route that she wanted to take, I wanted her to do that, and she earned her service as she was always proud to be in the military.”

Sanders’ family found out about her passing when officers notified them at their home in Waycross, Georgia, on Sunday morning, NBC News reported. The heavy equipment operator was on her second deployment at the time, and the news was shocking for her relatives, who spoke to her on a daily basis. She received several awards during her tenure. 

“It hurts that my daughter’s gone. It hurts. But to know that she made the ultimate sacrifice, and it was for our country, I’m very proud,” Sanders’ father, Marine veteran Shawn Sanders, told the outlet.

U.S. Army Reserve officials said on Tuesday that they posthumously promoted Sanders and Moffett to the rank of sergeant “in recognition of their exceptional courage, dedication and leadership.”

“This promotion is a small token of our immense gratitude for Sgt. Sanders and Sgt. Moffett’s service and sacrifice,” Col. Robert Coker, the chief of staff for the 412th Theater Engineer Command, said in a statement.

Rivers was a highly decorated soldier who enlisted in 2011 and was first assigned to a base in New Jersey. Sen. Cory Booker acknowledged his death in a statement on Tuesday. 

“Sergeant Rivers served with courage, honor, and a deep sense of duty, embodying the best of New Jersey and our nation,” Booker wrote on X. “His death is a profound loss to his family, friends, colleagues, and our entire country, and a reminder of the heavy debt we owe to our military families for their sacrifice.”

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