Senator Chuck Schumer is urging the U.S. Navy to name a ship after a top naval officer born in Oswego. Senior Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent was raised in Dutchess County, and left college to join the Navy in the footsteps of her father and uncle. Schumer made his remarks on the senate floor.
"Shannon was a pioneer in the special operations community. She was one of the first, if not the first, women to pass the course required to join Navy SEALS on missions. That’s amazing in itself. Shannon was an outstanding linguist and a seasoned cryptologist whose work 'contributed directly to the capture of hundreds of enemy insurgents and severely degraded enemy combat capability.'"
Schumer says this earned Kent a slew of accolades, including many commendation medals, the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He says her achievements inspired numerous programs for integrating women into Special Operations Forces in roles not previously open to female service members. But Schumer says she made the ultimate sacrifice.
"On January 16th of this year, Senior Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent was among four Americans and more than a dozen others killed in a suicide bombing in Northern Syria. Senior Chief Kent was on her fifth combat deployment, once again conducting some of the nation's most classified and dangerous missions."
Kent was 35 years old. She’s survived by her husband and two young children. Kent was also a scholar, cancer survivor, and athlete. Schumer says she deserves to be honored in a manner befitting her service to our country. He’s introducing an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill urging the U.S. Navy to name a ship after Kent.
"Of the 289 active duty ships in the Navy, only five are named in honor of women. Of the 53 named vessels currently under construction, only one is named in honor of a woman. And no naval ship has ever been named for a woman who fought and died in combat like Shannon Kent did."
Schumer says it’s time to address the disparity and recognize the role of female service members.