US Air Force
The U.S. commander that led the raid against Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi trained at Alabama military bases and earned a master’s degree at Troy University.
Lt. Gen. Scott Howell is currently the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The command was responsible for carrying out the Syrian attack against the terrorist leader.
Howell is the first Air Force officer to lead the command.
Howell’s group conducted its raid this weekend against Al-Baghdadi, who died after detonating a suicide vest while trying to escape U.S. commandos, President Trump said. Citing operational security, the military declined to release specific roles played by Howell or others.
A native of Kentucky, Howell was commissioned through the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1987, and earned his wings at Fort Rucker in Alabama. During his time as a helicopter pilot, his assignments included rescue and special operations in Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Mozambique, Djibouti and Afghanistan.
He attended Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery in 1991, earning his master of science in management from Troy University the following year. He also graduated from Maxwell’s Air Command and Staff College.
Howell is a decorated airman, earning a Defense Superior Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters; Legion of Merit with combat device; Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster; and Defense Meritorious Service medal, among others.