Sailor Earns Second Chance As Undesignated Seaman
by U.S. Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Demian Ford
Information Warfare Training Command, Monterey
September 25, 2020
“I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America,” stated Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) (CTI) 2nd Class Caitlin Kennedy as she stood in the gym of the Price Fitness Center, located onboard the Presidio of Monterey, California.
Her right hand was raised as she repeated the oath of enlistment after Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey’s Executive Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Ayala. A fresh graduate of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) and a cross-rate to CTI from yeoman, Kennedy reenlisted for six more years in the Navy.
September 18, 2020 - Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 2nd Class Caitlin Kennedy, attached to Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey and a recent graduate of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio of Monterey, California. IWTC Monterey, as part of the Center for Information Warfare Training, provides a continuum of foreign language training to Navy personnel, which prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations. (U.S. Navy courtesy photo)
However, her road to DLIFLC graduation didn’t start at the beginning of her Russian basic course. Kennedy first came to DLIFLC in 2014, but was disenrolled for a disciplinary violation.
“I was arrogant the first time I came to DLIFLC,” shared Kennedy. “I felt entitled, and didn’t have any self-discipline or good study habits. I had come into the Navy specifically to be a CTI, and when I found out that I was disenrolled, it was like a punch in the face.”
Upon disenrollment, then Kennedy was sent to the fleet as an undesignated seaman under the Professional Apprenticeship Career Track (PACT) program.
When asked about that experience, she stated, “At first, I didn’t know how to ‘ship life’. Because I had come in [to be] a CTI, I had a sense of superiority. Going through being an undesignated seaman taught me that everyone has an equally important part to play. I think every Sailor should experience being an undesignated seaman.”
Kennedy eventually struck into the yeoman rating, qualified as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist, and was promoted to second class petty officer. All the while she kept working toward her goal of returning to DLIFLC, and doing it right.
“I liked Petty Officer Kennedy from the start because she was clearly a squared away fleet returnee,” said Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Bryan Burrows, Kennedy’s division chief during her time as a student. “What impressed me most was that although she had times when she was struggling academically, she never let up and never lost sight of who she was as a leader.”
When asked if she had any advice for Sailors facing adversity or rebounding from mistakes, Kennedy offered, “Don’t give up. Keep your eyes on your goal, and you’ll get there or find something better. You know who you are, and do your best no matter what anyone else says.”
IWTC Monterey, as part of the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), provides a continuum of foreign language training to Navy personnel, which prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.
With four schoolhouse commands, a detachment, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 22,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.
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