Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Bodies of soldiers killed in Jordan, including former N.J. resident, return to the US on Friday

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers' boots. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)
February 01, 2024

The body of Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, formerly of Willingboro, one of the three soldiers killed in an attack on a military outpost in Jordan, will return to the United States on Friday, Department of Defense spokesperson Jon Kirby confirmed.

In a briefing with reporters on Airforce One Tuesday, Kirby said President Joe Biden had spoken to all of the families and that he would attend the dignified transfer of the bodies on Friday at Dover Air Force Base.

“The president had an opportunity this morning to speak with the family members of the three service members who were tragically killed in this attack,” Kirby told reporters. “He expressed to them how proud we all are of their service, how we mourn and feel sorrow over their loss.”

Kirby said Biden spoke to the families about attending the dignified transfer of the solders’ remains and that all of the families supported his attendance.

Sgt. Rivers’ wife declined to speak to NJ Advance Media Tuesday evening. He enlisted in the Army Reserves in August 2011 as an interior electrician and had been in Jordan as part of Operation Inherent Resolve since September 2023.

Sgt. Rivers and two other soldiers, Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffet, 23, were killed when an unmanned, one-way drone hit their housing unit while they were sleeping, according to the Department of Defense. Sanders and Moffet were posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant Tuesday.

Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement Monday night on the death of Sgt. Rivers saying he and his family sent their sympathies to all three families of the soldiers killed.

Other county, state and federally-elected officials offered their condolences to Sgt. Rivers’ family, including Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

“Sgt. Rivers served with courage, honor, and a deep sense of duty, embodying the best of New Jersey and our nation,” Booker said. “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.”

Sgt. Rivers and his family were currently living in Carrollton, Georgia, about 47 miles west of Atlanta. According to local Fox affiliate in Georgia, Sgt. Rivers’ name will be added to a memorial wall honoring deceased veterans. His name will be added to the section honoring veterans killed in action.

Messages of condolences and appreciation were shared on social media Tuesday from law enforcement agencies in New Jersey and Georgia.

“On behalf of Director of Public Safety Ian S. Bucs and the Willingboro Township Police Department, we extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sergeant William Jerome Rivers, a brave son of Willingboro who tragically lost his life while serving our country,” a post on the Willingboro Township Police Department Facebook page read Tuesday.

The Sheriff’s office in Georgia county, where Sgt. Rivers and his family lived, offered their support in a Facebook post Tuesday as well.

“We join our community as we mourn the loss of this brave solider, Sergeant William Jerome Rivers, 46 of Carrollton, GA who tragically lost his life in a drone strike on a military outpost in Jordan yesterday,” the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office said. “We salute you and your family for your selfless sacrifice to our nation and we will never take for granted our freedoms that you and so many other men and women bravely defend each day.”

Posts on the Residents of Willingboro past/present/future reminded the community to keep Sgt. Rivers’ memory alive. Some posts asked if the township planned to hold a memorial for Sgt. Rivers.

A message left for Mayor Kaya McIntosh was not returned Tuesday afternoon. Messages left with the Township’s public information officer and township manager were not immediately returned Wednesday.


© 2024 Advance Local Media LLC

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC