Madigan Army nurse killed in action in Afghanistan

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - A nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center and three of her fellow soldiers in a special operations force were killed by an improvised bomb blast Sunday in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said.

1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, was based at the hospital at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and volunteered as a member of a cultural support team with a special operations task force that deployed in June.

Also killed in Sunday's blast in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province were Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25 of Carlisle, Pa.; Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo.; and Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore.

All four service members were killed by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Army officials said 1st Lt. Moreno was on her first deployment to Afghanistan.

She was born June 25, 1988, in San Diego, Calif. After graduating from San Diego High School, she was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a Nurse Corps officer after graduating from the University of San Francisco with a bachelor of science degree in nursing.

Moreno completed the U.S. Army Airborne Course 2009 at Fort Benning, Ga., and the Army Medical Department Officer Basic Course 2010 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Moreno was then assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where she served as a clinical staff nurse on a medical surgical unit.

She volunteered and was successfully assessed and selected into the U. S. Army Special Operations Command Cultural Support Team program and deployed in June 2013.

"Our unit mourns the loss of 1st Lt. Jennifer Moreno," said Lt. Col. Patrick J. Ellis, Commander of 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. "She was a talented member of our team who lost her life while serving her country in one of the most dangerous environments in the world.

"Her bravery and self-sacrifice were in keeping with the highest traditions of the 75th Ranger Regiment. She was making a difference in Afghanistan and that legacy will live on. The Moreno family is in our thoughts and prayers."

Moreno's awards and decorations include the Parachutist Badge, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.

1st Lt. Moreno was posthumously awarded the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and NATO Medal.

She is survived by her mother, Marie V. Cordero, and her sisters Jearaldy Moreno and Yaritza Cordova of San Diego, Calif., and her brother, Ivan F. Moreno, currently serving in the U.S. Army.