ANNAPOLIS MD Cryptologic Warfare Activity (CWA) 66 held a memorial service for Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent at the U.S. Naval Academy chapel in Annapolis, Md., Feb. 8.
Kent was killed while supporting Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve on Jan. 16.
Nearly 2,000 people attended the ceremony to honor Kent and pay their respects to the Kent and Smith families. Kent was posthumously promoted to senior chief petty officer during the memorial service. She was also awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and a Combat Action Ribbon.
Addressing the crowd, Cmdr. Joseph Harrison, commanding officer of CWA-66, spoke about Kent's dedication and exceptional leadership.
"Senior Chief Kent was an extraordinary wife, mother, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, friend and valued leader in the Information Warfare Community," Harrison said. "Her strength, courage, confidence and resiliency were infectious and exactly what you want in a Chief Petty Officer."
Harrison said Kent strived to be outstanding at everything she put her mind to and epitomized the command's guiding principles of people, teamwork, trust and communication.
"The accomplishments of this rockstar are simply phenomenal. She brought the right heart-set and mind-set to everything and was a model for others to emulate," Harrison added.
Kent will be missed by many, including CWA-66's Command Senior Enlisted Leader, Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Denise Vola.
"Everyone is here today because Shannon was a pillar of strength who we respected, loved and revered. If we needed something, she was there. She worked tirelessly to help others and she reached for the stars," Vola said. "Shannon was a true warrior, a sister, and a friend. She exemplified every characteristic of what our anchors represent to the Chiefs Mess and the United States Navy."
Kent, who hailed from upstate New York, is survived by her husband and two young sons. She enlisted in the Navy on Dec. 11, 2003, and graduated from boot camp at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill., in Feb. 2004. Her other military assignments include Navy Information Operations Command, Fort Gordon, Ga.; Navy Special Warfare Support Activity 2, Norfolk, Va.; Personnel Resource Development Office, Washington, D.C.; Navy Information Operations Command Maryland, Fort Meade, Md.; and Cryptologic Warfare Group (CWG) 6, Fort Meade, Md. Kent reported to CWA-66 after the command was established on Aug. 10, 2018.
"The Navy and the Chiefs Mess has lost a great Chief Petty Officer," said CWG-6 Command Master Chief Ricardo Galvan. "Shannon was a fighter who always put others before herself. I believe that everyone who met Shannon walked away a better person because of her. We are truly going to miss her."
"Senior Chief Kent was a warrior in every sense of the word - brave, honorable and courageous," said U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth 10th Fleet Command Master Chief Dee Allen. "It was an honor to have her as part of the Chiefs Mess, and we will never forget her ultimate sacrifice in service to our Navy and our nation."
Kent's other awards and decorations include the Joint Service Commendation Medal (2), Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon, and Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon.