Kevin Lynch Receives John Ratka – Hero Veteran Award (Story and Video) ~ VALLEY PATRIOT OF THE MONTH

By: John Cuddy – 4-23

On Friday March 31st at the Annual Valley Patriot Bash, Scholarship and Award Night, Haverhill Police Officer Kevin Lynch was awarded the Master Chief John Ratka Hero Veteran Award!

Interviewing US Navy Seabee and Haverhill Police Sergeant Kevin Lynch uncovered a family tradition of US Military Service. Kevin served as a Construction Mechanic First Class with the US Navy Construction Battalions. His wife Shannon served as a Radioman in the US Navy and retired after 27 years of service as an Information Systems Technician Chief Petty Officer. Shannon’s son, born while she was stationed at Naval Station Adak Island, Alaska, served in the United States Marine Corp. Shannon was assigned to the Naval Security Group Activity at Adak. The couple also has a son-in-law that served as a US Marine.

The Information Systems Technician rating is one of the most diverse ratings in the US Navy and US Coast Guard. The Navy’s IT rating was created in 1998 from a combination of two previous Navy ratings radioman (RM) and data processing technician (DP). A third rating, cryptologic technician communications (CTO) merged with IT in October 2005. During February 2010, the IT rating was incorporated into the Information Dominance Corps.

The US Navy Sailors in the Information Dominance Corp consists of Information Systems Technicians, Intelligence Specialists, Cryptologic Technicians, and Aerographer’s Mates. In the Veteran’s community, there is a grassroots movement, to name a ship after US Navy Senior Chief Shannon Kent. On January 16, 2019, CTICS(IW/EXW) Shannon M. Kent was killed in action in Manbij, Syria while supporting Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. She is the only female cryptologist killed in action in the history of naval cryptology, leaving behind two small children and a husband. Valley Patriot readers can write a simple letter to their US Representative and two US Senators to assist with this goal.

Initially serving in the US Navy as a Radioman, Chief Shannon Lynch deployed to Al Asad Iraq with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 27. Chief Lynch also deployed to Afghanistan with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 22. While serving with the Seabees, Chief Lynch earned the Seabee Combat Warfare designation. During her deployment with NMCB 27, she met her husband, Kevin.

One of her most memorable days in Iraq, was the day her convoy ran over an Improvised Explosive Device or IED. The convoy arrived at its destination, a forward operating base, or FOB, and the convoy members were informed they had hit an IED enroute. No one is certain whether the device was a “dud” or did not explode due to electronic counter measures the sailors took.

After retiring from military service, Chief Lynch, began a career in banking, first working for TD Bank, then moving on to commercial banking, now working at Panacea Financial, where she specializes in serving the medical community.

Petty Officer Kevin Lynch started his career as a mechanic working for a car dealership in Woburn, Massachusetts. He served as a mechanic in the US Navy with Naval Mobile Construction Battalions 27, 7, and a second tour with 27. He also served with Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 and Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 302. He served with the Navel Security Forces at the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Naval Shipyard.

Serving with the Seabees, shortly after the attacks on 9/11 he was deployed to US Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom supporting Camp X-Ray and Camp Victory where the Taliban Detainees were housed, and Al Asad Iraq where he supported both the US Navy and the US Marine Corp Expeditionary Force (MEF I and MEF II).

The US Navy Seabees are heavily relied on to construct forward operating bases and transportation equipment to accomplish the mission, Seabees such as Construction Mechanic First Class Kevin Lynch, are at the tip of the spear keeping the entire motor pool ready to go. During his time in Iraq, Lynch earned his third Navy Achievement Medal. What he is most proud of during his navel career, Lynch was a member of the Navy Funeral Honors Team, rendering Honors to 700+ fallen Veterans. Lynch retired from the Navy reserves after 21 years of service.

A Haverhill Police Sergeant, he currently supervises the Traffic & Safety Unit, School Resource Officers, and the Behavioral Response Unit. Using his GI Bill benefits, he has earned an Associates, a Bachelors, and two Master level Degrees. His passion is playing goalie on his ice hockey team and as a salute to the US Navy Seabees, the Seabee logo is on his goalie mask. Kevin is also an active member of the Board of Directors for the Haverhill Veterans Alliance.

The couple’s blended family consists of one son, four daughters, and two grandchildren. Serving together in Iraq, and Shannon’s deployment to Afghanistan, Kevin’s deployment to Cuba, truly make this Haverhill couple, “Heroes in our Midst”

The Dracut American Legion asks all World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War Veterans, to call (603) 518-5368 and sign up for an Honor Flight to the Memorials in Washington DC! Veterans of all eras are asked to go on the American Legion’s Web site, and join the American Legion; our mission is working with Congress, Veterans, and the Community, preserving our Veteran’s Benefits for future generations and serving all Veterans and their families.

John Cuddy served in the US Navy’s Construction Battalions (also known as the Seabees) after retiring from the US Navy; he earned a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in economics from the University of Massachusetts on the Lowell Campus. He has been employed in Logistics at FedEx for the last 26 years. If you know a World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War Veteran who would like their story told, please email him at ◊