According to a Pentagon statement, Owens, 36, of Peoria, Illinois, died "of wounds sustained in a raid against al-Qaeda."
"I extend my condolences to the family and shipmates of Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens," said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in a statement.
"Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service," Mattis said.
"The United States would not long exist were it not for the selfless commitment of such warriors," he added. "I thank our gallant troops and their families for their dedication to protecting this nation, and I pass our respects to Ryan's family in this most difficult time."
"There were operational reasons why it happened when it did and not two weeks ago," Davis said.
The raid targeting a compound housing three senior leaders with AQAP was intended primarily to gather intelligence on the group that could be used to prevent terrorist plots.
Fourteen al-Qaeda fighters were killed in the raid on the compound, including some women who fired at the American forces.
“We saw that female fighters ran to pre-established positions, as though they had trained to be ready and trained to be combatants, and engaged with us," said Davis. He characterized the female fighters as legitimate combatants.
The Pentagon is still assessing reports that children were been killed in the raid, but a U.S. official said there were no internal indications that was the case.