Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency/chief, Central Security Service, paid special tribute to Navy Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent at a memorial wall service and unveiling held at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. Feb. 28.
“Senior Chief Kent, and all those honored on this wall, remind us of the seriousness of our mission…the defense of our Nation,” said Nakasone. “Inscribed with the words, 'They Served in Silence,' this wall is a constant reminder of the ultimate price paid for our freedom by the 177 men and women of our Enterprise, whose courage, patriotism, and dedication to mission we memorialize here.”
Kent gave her life, "serving in silence," in the line of duty while supporting Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria Jan. 16. Approximately 80 guests, including military leaders and Kent’s family members, attended the service and unveiling of Kent’s name embossed on the NSA/CSS Cryptologic Memorial Wall. Kent, along with 18 others, was killed by a suicide bomber in the Syrian city of Manbij. She was the first female U.S. service member killed in Syria since the U.S.-led coalition’s campaign against Islamic State began there in late 2014.
“The Navy Information Warfare Community suffered a tremendous loss when Senior Chief Kent was killed in Manbij, Syria, earlier this year,” said Vice Adm. Timothy “T.J.” White, commander, U.S. Navy Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet. “She was a valued leader in the Navy. Her strength, courage, and confidence were extraordinary. While not replaceable, a singular feature of Senior Chief Kent’s professionalism was her passion to train the future of Navy Cryptology. She has trained a whole generation of cryptologists that will continue to proudly stand the watch. We are blessed that such warriors answer the call to military service at the highest levels of professionalism and capability.”
Kent was posthumously promoted to Senior Chief Petty Officer during a memorial service Feb. 8 at the U.S. Naval Academy. She was also awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and a Combat Action Ribbon.
The wall, dedicated in 1996, now lists the names of 177 Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, and civilian cryptologists who have made the ultimate sacrifice, “serving in silence,” in the performance of their duties since World War II.
Additional information on the Memorial Wall and a special historical monograph highlighting Kent’s service and sacrifice can be viewed on the NSA/CSS website at the National Cryptologic Memorial web page.
NOTE: Media outlets interested in receiving photographs from the ceremony or additional information should contact the NSA Media Relations via phone at 443-634-0721 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.