The family of a Navy cryptologist who was killed in Syria earlier this year in a suicide bombing is fighting an obscure regulation they say derailed her education plans and ultimately led to her fifth combat deployment in the war-torn country.
Chief Petty Officer Shannon Mary Kent, 35, 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 and mother 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.
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.”
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.