Pinellas County mother grieving soldier son killed in Kabul airport attack

Fallen soldier
Posted at 4:12 PM, Sep 03, 2021

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Seminole resident, Paula Knauss, is grieving the loss of her son, 23-year-old Ryan Knauss, who was one of the 13 soldiers killed in a terrorist attack at the Kabul airport last week.

Paula Knauss says since birth, her son Ryan's destiny was to be a soldier.

"He did his first push-up from the first hour he was born, so he was military-ready from the start," said Paula.

She says at 17 years old Ryan signed up for the army, and by 23 years old, he was already a staff sergeant.

Just a few weeks ago Paula says he volunteered to take a second tour in Afghanistan, on a last mission to help get people out.

"He said, 'You don’t get it, mom. This is what I was meant to do,'" said Paula.

Paula says Ryan worked at the gates of the airport in Kabul checking the paperwork of the people coming through.

Last Tuesday, Ryan sent his mother a message that said, 'All good here mom, I love you.'

It was the last time Paula ever heard from her son.

Last Thursday morning, terrorists bombed the Kabul airport. Thirteen American soldiers were killed.

One of them was 23-year-old Staff Sergeant Ryan Christian Knauss.

"We knew you had to do what you had to do. We miss you so much. And we’ll see you on the other side," said Paula.

As Paula grieves she says she's frustrated at the situation that her son and many other troops were in.

"My son knew the cost of fighting for freedom. But the one thing I’m sure he didn’t realize was the price you had to pay for the politics of it," said Paula.

Now their family is planning a funeral. Paula hopes her son can be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

"He will be forever remembered, as helping us in this country, remember what true heroism is," said Paula.