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Joint Forces Journal

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VOL. 24 - NO. 39
OCT 13 - 20, 2019
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX
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Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

Lawmaker Wants Navy Ship Named for Senior Chief Killed in Syria

Jun 14, 2019
by Patricia Kime
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants a U.S. Navy ship to be named for Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon Kent, the Pine Plains, New York, native who spent much of her 15-year military career embedded with special operations troops and died Jan. 16 in a bombing in Manbij, Syria.

The honor would be the first for the Navy: Of the service's nearly 300 ships, fewer than a dozen are named for women and none commemorate a female service member killed in action.

A talented linguist, intelligence analyst and cryptologist, Kent enlisted in the Navy in 2003, inspired, according to Schumer, by her father and uncle, who both served as first responders in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Kent deployed five times, spending her tours serving as a member of Navy SEAL teams and other special operations elements. She spoke Arabic fluently, married a Green Beret and was the mother of two boys. After becoming a mom, she pursued a dream to become an officer, applying for -- and receiving -- a slot in a highly competitive doctoral program for clinical psychology.

But between pregnancies, Kent was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. While she was successfully treated, she was found medically unfit for the officer accession program. She later was denied a waiver for entry. Instead, in her 15th year of service, Kent prepared to deploy again, to Syria, where she'd been for roughly six weeks before she died.

Kent was killed in a suicide bombing in a busy market area, alongside Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Farmer; Defense Intelligence Agency officer Scott Wirtz; and Ghadir Taher, a Syrian-born interpreter from East Point, Georgia.

Since her death, the Navy has changed its waiver and appeals process for commissioning programs, with Adm. William Moran, the service's vice chief of operations, telling her family that "there were many shortcomings in Shannon's case," mainly "fundamental flaws in our waiver and appeal process."

Moran promised a new policy that "will improve the quality, fairness and consistency of the medical waiver process" for all enlisted to officer commissioning programs.

Schumer said Kent's "groundbreaking achievements," which include breaking barriers in the special operations community and calling attention to issues with Navy policies, deserve to be recognized "in a manner fitting."

He asked that fellow senators support a proposed amendment to the Senate's version of the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which the legislative body will take up later this month.

"Kent was living proof that women can not only keep up with, but lead this nation's most highly capable service members," Schumer said.

* * * * *

Photo caption: Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent. (U.S. NAVY)


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