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Memorial service

Army nurse ‘had many best friends’

Soldier, three comrades killed by IED while serving in Afghanistan

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:47PM November 7th, 2013
Army nurse ‘had many best friends’

U.S. Army photo

Moreno

Captain Jennifer M. Moreno lived life out loud.

Those who knew the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Army nurse, recounted her infectious enthusiasm and bright smile during the Soldier’s memorial service Nov. 1 at Lewis North Chapel.

“She made friends with everyone she worked with,” said Christine Hulen, a friend of Moreno. “She had a special way to make you feel that you were her best friend. Suffice to say, she had many best friends.”

Moreno was killed in action Oct. 6 when her unit was attacked by enemy forces using an improvised explosive device in Zhari District, Afghanistan. Three other U.S. Soldiers were killed in the attack.

Moreno was on her first deployment since she was commissioned as a Army Nurse Corps officer in 2010. The San Diego, Calif., native was assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center in 2011, where she served as a clinical staff nurse on a 32-bed medical-surgical unit before she volunteered and was selected to serve with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Cultural Support Team, graduating from training April 24. Less than two months later she deployed.

“Captain Jennifer Moreno will always be remembered as a Soldier, an Army Nurse Corps officer and a hero,” Madigan deputy commander of nursing, Col. Lena Gaudreau said. “She touched the lives of all of us who had the chance to know her.”

At just 25 years old, the officer was an inspiration to many with how she committed her life to her country and her patients. Chaplain Lt. Col. Jimmy Davis said people often look up to others who are older, but as a young leader, many looked up to Moreno.

“Today that formula is reversed,” he said. “Today the example that I want to follow and the person that I look up to is Capt. Jennifer Moreno. I want to emulate that spirit.”

Hulen spoke of Moreno’s adventurous spirit, always in search of ways to challenge her mind and body. She was strong-willed and set a high standard for how things should be done.

“Yet, she was one of the most caring and compassionate individuals that I have ever known,” Hulen said. “ ... With her zest for life, she inspired those around her to look for ways to improve themselves.”

As Gaudreau spoke of Moreno, four candles were lit to symbolize grief, courage, memory and love.

“We light this candle as your light will always shine,” she said after the final candle was lit.

Moreno’s family received a ceremonial flag, which flew over JBLM Oct. 23 and Madigan Oct. 24 in honor of Moreno. After the ceremony a stone at Madigan Pond was also dedicated to the Army nurse.