KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The U.S. House has passed a bill that will posthumously award East Tennessee’s Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss the Congressional Gold Medal. Knauss, 23, a graduate of Gibbs High School, was one of 13 U.S. service members killed by a suicide bomber from the Islamic State on Aug. 26 while they had been aiding to help people escape Afghanistan amid the withdrawal of American troops. President Joe Biden met with families of the fallen troops days after the attack.
According to the U.S. Congress, since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions.
The House bill, once passed by the Senate and supporting committes, bestows the highest award Congress can give to Knuass and the 12 other U.S. service members killed in the final days of the war in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Knauss was a member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and a staff sergeant assigned to the 9th Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group.
Knuass’ life and love for his country were celebrated during a public memorial at Gibbs High School last month, where he had attended before enlisting in the Army in 2016. Knauss and the 12 other U.S. service members killed in the late August attack were also posthumously awarded a Purple Heart.
Knauss was reportedly the last American service member killed in Afghanistan in what has been our nation’s longest war.