Woman previously based in Norfolk one of three killed in Syria explosion

Posted at 9:27 AM, Jan 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-18 09:33:04-05

The Department of Defense has identified three of the four Americans killed in Syria on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Jan. 18, 2019) Personal photo provided by the family of Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, 35, who was killed Jan. 16, 2019, in Manbij, Syria, while assigned to Cryptologic Warfare Activity 66 (CWA 66), supporting Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Navy/Released)

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon M. Kent, 35, of upstate New York; and DOD civilian Scott A. Wirtz of St. Louis, Missouri, were killed Wednesday in the explosion in Manbij, Syria, according to the Department of Defense.

Kent, a Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive), was assigned to Navy Special Warfare Support Activity 2 during her military career. She was also assigned at other Mid-Atlantic military posts in Washington D.C. and at Fort Meade in Maryland.

“Chief Kent’s drive, determination and tenacity were infectious. Although she has left us way too soon, she will not be forgotten, and her legacy will live on with us,” said CWA 66 Command Senior Enlisted Leader, Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collections) Denise Vola.

Kent was currently had been assigned to Cryptologic Warfare Activity 66, based at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.

All three died “as a result of wounds sustained from a suicide improvised explosive device,” according to the military.

The fourth American killed in Syria was a contractor supporting the Defense Department, according to a Pentagon spokesman. The Pentagon will not release his name since he was not military.

Farmer served on six overseas combat tours and was a decorated soldier awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Wirtz, a former US Navy SEAL, was an intelligence expert in Syria with the troops hoping to collect information about security and adversaries in the area.

The bombing is still under investigation.

CNN reported Thursday that the US initial assessment is that ISIS is responsible for the bombing.

The explosion in the northern city of Manbij Wednesday killed the four Americans and at least 10 other people. Eight civilians and two fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in the blast, a senior commander from the Manbij military council told CNN.

The US-led coalition Operation Inherent Resolve said Wednesday that the service members were “conducting a routine patrol” at the time of the explosion. Three other US service members were injured in the attack.

The attack came less than a month after President Donald Trump announced that US troops would withdraw from Syria.