Petty Officer 3rd Class Shane Cohen grew up in Leesburg. Now he travels the world with U.S. Navy. When asked why he chose the Navy, Shane said, “I have had several family members in the Navy. My grandfather and my father both served…and many other family members have served in different branches.”
Shane serves aboard an avenger-class mine countermeasures ship (MCM), the USS Dextrous, which searches and disposes of enemy mines in the world’s maritime region as the leading edge of the Navy.
“My favorite part of this job is being able to go out and do my job in the ocean,” Shane says. “It is challenging because of the number of people we have onboard but it is exciting to hunt for mines and neutralize them.”
He graduated from Tavares High School in 2016 and joined the Navy more than three years ago. He’s now half a world away from Leesburg at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. Task Force 52 plans and executes mine warfare operations in support of the U.S. 5th Fleet’s operational objectives.
The Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of ocean, and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 20 countries, includes three critical choke points; the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
“I love serving in Bahrain,” Shane says. “It allows me to meet people I would never have had the opportunity to meet. The said people here are very nice, and we can explore a lot of things to do on such a small island.”
Serving in the Navy means Shane is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
A key element of the Navy is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Shane is most proud of graduating boot camp in October 2016 graduating mineman school in May 2018.
“Mineman school for us is very challenging because we learn many jobs in addition to our own,” said Cohen.
Shane knows he’s a member of one of the most relied-upon assets of the Navy, and that means he has an active role in protecting his country.
“It means that I know when I go to sleep, my family is safe,” Shane says. “I am able to serve my country and follow in the footsteps of people I love.”