A memorial service was held on Wednesday, Oct. 9 to honor University of San Francisco graduate Army 1st Lt. Jennifer Moreno, who was killed in Afghanistan on Oct. 6. The ROTC cadets conducted the open ceremony at the Lone Mountain flag court at 4 p.m.
Moreno was a 2010 graduate of the School of Nursing and Health Professions and the ROTC program. The 25year-old from San Diego, Calif. was on assignment with an elite joint Special Operations cultural support team when a suicide bomb killed her and three fellow soldiers in the Zhari district of the Kandahar province. Thirty other soldiers were wounded. The company was attacked while on a night mission that prevented a high profile suicide bombing in the city of Kandahar, ac cording to Ranger Regiment spokes woman Tracy Bailey.
Moreno had volunteered and passed through the selection process to join the Special Operations cultural support team, which calls on American women to interact with Afghan women in ways that male soldiers cannot due to cultural differences. It is a job that requires communication skills and compassion, and Moreno felt her nursing background qualified her for the position. USF President Stephen A. Privett S.J. and Associate Professor of nursing Susan Prion, Moreno’s faculty advisor at USF, spoke about Moreno’s service and dedication to others at the ceremony, which included the lowering of the American flag to half-staff by the ROTC color guard. Moreno was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and promoted to captain. “She was a dedicated, caring nurse and Army officer and sadly, she died doing what she loved,” Prion said. “I am especially proud that she volunteered for this high-risk, special assignment because she thought her role as a nurse would give her added sensitivity in dealing with the Afghani women.”
It was Moreno’s first deployment in Afghanistan. She previously served as a clinical staff nurse in a medical surgical unit at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Lewis-McChord, Wash. She was the first soldier out of Madigan to die in Iraq or Afghanistan.On Tuesday, flags flew at half staff at the Capitol in Sacramento in Moreno’s honor. California Gov. Jerry Brown said Moreno “bravely gave her life in service to our state and nation.”