CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – U.S. Navy reserve Judge Advocate Gen. Cmdr. Shannon Llenza from Duvall had been deployed to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
Officially known as the Republic of Djibouti, the 8,958 square-mile country is strategically located near some of the world's busiest shipping lanes, controlling access to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. It serves as a key refueling and transshipment center and is the principal maritime port for imports from and exports to neighboring Ethiopia.
Camp Lemonnier is the only enduring U.S. military base on the continent of Africa. It provides, operates and sustains support of combat readiness and security of ships, aircraft, detachments, and personnel for regional and combatant command requirements.
Llenza, who is also an attorney at Microsoft in Redmond, serves as the legal advisor to the base commanding officer, offering guidance regarding ethics, criminal justice, rules of engagement, and personnel and other legal matters.
Llenza is a 1995 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and 2001 graduate of Marquette University Law School She credits her success in the Navy to her adopted hometown.
“The community of Duvall has really stepped up to help my family while I’m here,” Llenza said. “We have no other relatives in the area, and it takes a village to support a military family while a parent is deployed. We haven’t lived in Duvall long, but it’s been humbling how people have come together and helped when we needed them. It’s a great community and I’m so lucky to be a part of it.”
Llenza’s commanding officer, Capt. Ken Crowe, says she’s is among the many who play an important role in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness in the strategical seaports on the northeast coast of Africa.
“Camp Lemonnier is a key Navy base and a vital asset to the United States as our location in the Horn of Africa overlooks the world’s fourth busiest waterway,” Crowe said “A mission as critical as ours comes with a lot of responsibilities and challenges, but our military members and civilians work hard. I’m honored to serve alongside each and every one of them, including Commander Llenza.”
Llenza is the first person in her family to join the military. Her husband is a retired Navy veteran. Llenza said she’d be honored to see her children following in their footsteps.
“My dad influenced me to join the Navy after law school,” Llenza said. “The Navy has been good to me and if my kids want to join, I’d completely support them. I feel like being in the Navy has helped to provide my daughter with a strong female role model because she sees that women can do anything that men can do.”