Durbin will Host Illinois Soldier for Tonight's State of the Union

[WASHINGTON, DC] – In what has become an annual tradition, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) will host a wounded Illinois soldier as his guest for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.  U.S. Army Specialist Jacob Owens from the Englewood neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, will also attend the Secretary of the Senate’s dinner immediately preceding the President’s address.   Durbin has invited soldiers who have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as his guests to the State of the Union since 2005 when he hosted Army Major Tammy Duckworth.


“Specialist Owens has given so much in service to our nation.  I think it is only fitting that he is here tonight to be a part of this special moment in our nation’s history – the State of the Union address,” said Durbin.  “I am humbled by his service and honored to introduce him to my Senate colleagues and have him as my guest this evening.”


Specialist Jacob Owens

Specialist Owens was born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 14, 1983.  He graduated from Simeon Career High School in 2001.  Following high school, he attended Columbia College Chicago, graduating in 2007.  Specialist Owens joined the Army in February 2009.  He attended One Station Unit Training (OSUT) at Fort Leavenworth, MO, where he was awarded the 12B (Combat Engineer) Military Occupational Skill Identifier.  After graduation, he was assigned to Fort Drum, NY, as part of the 10th Mountain Division. 


Specialist Owens first deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Afghanistan in 2009.   During his second deployment to Afghanistan, Specialist Owens was wounded in action on November 25, 2011.  He received both a Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge.  As a result of his injuries, Specialist Owens was medically evacuated to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda where he continues to receive treatment.  Specialist Owens, who enjoys chess, basketball and dancing, plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Political Science and continue his career in the Army.