Sailor is first woman to die in combat in Syria

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Photo credit U.S. Navy/Released

The Pentagon identified the first woman to die in combat in Syria.

Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon M. Kent, 35 of upstate New York, was killed in the Syrian city of Manbij in a suicide bombing of a restaurant on Wednesday. She was an Arabic linguist assigned to Cryptologic Warfare Activity (CWA) 66 based at Fort Meade, Md. 

Three other Americans were killed in the attack claimed by ISIS: Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, Defense Intelligence Agency civilian and former Navy SEAL Scott A. Wirtz, the Pentagon did not release the identity of a contractor that was killed because he was not in the military. 

RELATED: DoD identifies three Americans killed in Syria Wednesday

Her death marks the first sailor to die in 2019. 

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and teammates of Chief Petty Officer Kent during this extremely difficult time,” said CWA-66 commander Cmdr. Joseph Harrison in a statement.

 “She was a rockstar, an outstanding Chief Petty Officer, and leader to many in the Navy Information Warfare Community.”

Kent enlisted in the Navy in 2003, and her awards include two Joint Service Commendation Medals, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, and a Joint Service Achievement Medal. 

She also earned the Iraq Campaign Medal and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. 

In addition to Fort Meade, her other assignments include Fort Gordon, Ga., Norfolk, Va., and Washington. 

“Chief Kent’s drive, determination, and tenacity were infectious,” said Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician Denise Vola, CWA 66’s command senior enlisted leader.

“Although she has left us way too soon, she will not be forgotten, and her legacy will live on with us.” 

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