Awlaki, 40, preached in mosques in San Diego, where he met two of the 9/11 attackers, and in Falls Church, Va. He moved to Yemen in 2004.
His Internet lectures and sermons are linked to more than a dozen terror investigations including the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, and the Times Square car bombing bid.
The Times notes that the deaths mark the first time a U.S. citizen was "deliberately targeted and killed by American forces."
Awlaki reportedly had been under surveillance for three weeks by a joint CIA and Joint Special Operations Command operation that was waiting for the right moment to strike.