The three Army Reserve soldiers killed on Sunday were Sergeant William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Georgia; Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Georgia, and Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Georgia.
Biden joined families of those killed at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, for what the US Air Force calls a “dignified transfer” of remains.
After meeting with family members privately, the president placed a hand over his heart as the flag-draped transfer cases were brought out of the plane one-by-one. He previously offered his condolences to the families in a phone call on Tuesday.
Biden, wearing a long dark coat and a somber expression, approached and bowed his head as a prayer was said for the fallen.
Working with solemn precision, a team of seven service members carried the cases from the open bay of the plane to a dark mortuary van, as the families and the presidential entourage watched.
First lady Jill Biden joined the president along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Air Force General Charles Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The parents of Specialist Sanders, 23, shared a video of Biden’s previous call with local media outlets. “I know there is nothing anybody can say or do to ease the pain, I’ve been there,” Biden said, recounting the deaths of his first wife, infant daughter and grown son, Beau.
The drone attack by Iran-backed militants against the American outpost in Jordan, known as Tower 22, also injured more than 40. It raised fears of a larger war in the Middle East, where the Israel-Hamas conflict threatens to boil over.
Biden said on Tuesday he has made up his mind on how to respond to the Jordan attack. The expectation has been that there will be retaliatory strikes, but the timing of the response has been unclear.
A strike into Iranian territory itself did not appear likely after the White House said Biden does not want a war with Iran.
The United States has assessed that Iran manufactured the drone used in the attack, four US officials told Reuters.