U.S. Army Major General Jimmie Keenan (right), chief of the nurse corps, was at USF on May 15 to honor ROTC cadet Capt. Jennifer Moreno '10, who died in action in Afghanistan in October 2013.
The chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Major General Jimmie Keenan, was at USF on May 15 to dedicate and unveil a memorial plaque for Capt. Jennifer Moreno ’10, who was killed in Afghanistan last October.
Moreno, an Army nurse, died when insurgents attacked her unit and set off a series of booby-trapped explosions in a bomb-making compound. She was 25.
In all, 12 bombs exploded and four soldiers died. Another 25 soldiers were seriously wounded or maimed.
“When we talk about selfless service, Jenny really exemplifies that,” Keenan told about 60 friends, ROTC cadets, former teachers, and Moreno’s sister, Geraldine.
She knew, Keenan said, because she visited the hospital bedside of an Army ranger who was on the same mission. Moreno went back to help him when he was wounded, disobeying an order to remain in place for her own safety after the attack began.
Sacrificed her life to save others
“Some of you may remember. (That ranger) was actually the soldier who was intubated and saluted when the Purple Heart was pinned on him. It went viral on YouTube. But I went to see him because he knew Capt. Moreno,” Keenan said. “He said, ‘Jenny was always so positive, and she never backed away from anything.’ And his wife looked at me and said, ‘Can you please tell Jenny’s family thank you. Because I know what Jenny did that day is sacrificed her life to save others. And my husband is here today, and he’ll get to see our first child born because of her.’”
“Jenny had courage that many of us wouldn’t have had that fateful day,” Keenan told the crowd, many with tears in their eyes by that time.
Bronze star for valor
Keenan and Moreno’s sister, who traveled from the family’s hometown of San Diego, unveiled the memorial plaque together to rousing applause. The plaque hangs in the entrance to the School of Nursing and Health Professions.
USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J., delivered a benediction, and ROTC Ltc. Kevin Inglin, Dean Judith Karshmer, from the School of Nursing and Health Professions, and Susan Prion, Moreno’s USF faculty advisor, also spoke at the ceremony.
Posthumously, Moreno was awarded a Bronze Star for valor and promoted to captain. She also received a Purple Heart.
Keenan’s visit coincided with spring commencement, so that she could also speak at the ROTC commissioned officer’s ceremony on May 16.
by Ed Carpenter | Office of Communications and Marketing »email firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter @usfcanews