FORT MEADE, Md., March 1, 2019 — The name of our teammate, Senior Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent was added to the NSA/CSS Cryptologic Memorial Wall in a solemn ceremony on Thursday, 28 February 2019.
Senior Chief Kent was a Navy Cryptologic Technician assigned to Cryptologic Warfare Activity SIXTY-SIX which supports NSA’s Collection, Exploitation and Cryptanalysis Operations. She was killed in action while deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve this past January in Syria. This was her fifth combat deployment and ninth deployment overall.
The addition of Senior Chief Kent’s name to the Memorial Wall marks the first time in four years our Agency has etched another name into the stone. 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 memorialized.
“Senior Chief Shannon Kent, and all those honored on this wall, remind us of the seriousness of our mission, the defense of our Nation,” General Paul Nakasone said at Thursday’s Memorial Wall service.
Gen. Nakasone spoke of Senior Chief Kent’s service, passion for the mission, and her devotion to family saying, “Shannon had incredible strength, both physical and mental. She also had courage. The courage to face her fears, to stand up to ideas and processes that were outdated, the courage to continue on when many of us may have stumbled. We are inspired by Shannon’s strength and her courage.”
Senior Chief Kent leaves behind her husband, former Special Forces Warrant Officer Joseph Kent and two young sons. Family members joined Senior Chief Kent’s friends and colleagues to pay tribute to her life at the Memorial Wall service. It was streamed live to the entire NSA Extended Enterprise.
Senior Chief Kent was a career cryptologist and exceptional linguist, well known in the SIGINT and Special Operations communities for her professionalism, expertise, and dedication to the mission. At a memorial held at the U.S. Naval Academy earlier this month, she was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and a Combat Action Ribbon. In the awarding of the Bronze Star, the Presidential citation reads in part, “Chief Kent’s outstanding leadership, innovation, and expertise were the cornerstone of her exceptional support to a U.S. special operations joint task force during sustained combat operations. She invented methods of incorporating open-source technology into traditional intelligence collection operations, which extended coverage far beyond previously existing regional capabilities. Her achievements will have a lasting and measurable impact in combating enemies of the United States.”
Senior Chief Kent’s parents, Stephen and Mary Smith unveiled the name of their daughter etched into the black stone Memorial Wall. The NSA/CSS Cryptologic Memorial Wall honors our colleagues who have given their lives in the line of duty since 1950.
“Around the world, wherever US forces are deployed, you will find the National Security Agency,” Gen. Nakasone said. “We bring our technology, we employ our tradecraft, but most importantly, we send our talent. For talent is our most important advantage. Penetrating the toughest targets, providing timely analysis, enabling insightful intelligence, since 9/11, 10,000 talented men and women, military and civilian, have deployed from our Agency. Much as we are proud of Shannon, we are also proud of the nearly 300 NSA personnel deployed today around the world who stand watch. The National Security Agency deeply mourns the loss of Senior Chief Kent. Rest in peace, Shannon. Thank you for all you have done for our Nation, your family, and for all of us.”
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.