Family of Navy officer killed in Syria says regulation forced her deployment

Navy Chief Petty Officer Shannon M. Kent, 35, was killed in a suicide bomb attack claimed by the Islamic State group in Syria, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019.
(U.S. Navy via AP)

The family of a Navy Chief Petty Officer who was killed in Syria earlier this year in a suicide bombing is fighting an obscure regulation they say derailed the officer’s education plans and ultimately led to her fifth combat deployment in the war-torn country.

Shannon Mary Kent, 35, an intelligence officer and mother, was planning on attending a clinical doctoral program near Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last year but was disqualified because of a previous bout with thyroid cancer.

Despite having the thyroid removed and receiving scans that showed she was cured, the 15-year veteran was deployed to Syria where she and three other Americans were killed two months later in a suicide bomb attack that was claimed by ISIS.

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Her husband, Joe Kent, a retired Green Beret warrant officer, expressed disbelief at the regulation, saying: “It is pretty unbelievable she was considered physically fit to be deployable and … for a special operation in Syria, but not for a classroom to be a psychologist.”

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Shannon Kent’s family wrote to Adm. William Moran, vice chief of naval operations last week, requesting a change in the rule so other enlistees don't have the same fate. Stars and Stripes reported that the Navy is reviewing the regulation but have not made a final decision.

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