Capt. Jennifer Moreno
Capt. Jennifer Moreno

President Biden signed into law on Monday a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Levin to rename the San Diego Veteran Affairs Medical Center after Army veteran Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno.

This is the first time that a VA medical facility has been named for a woman veteran of color.

“I am thrilled that the San Diego VA Medical Center will now help give women servicemembers and veterans the recognition they deserve by proudly using Army Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno’s name,” said Levin. “Capt. Moreno is a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms, and her legacy has inspired many young women to pursue military service.”

Moreno was born in San Diego and was raised in Logan Heights by her single mother. She deployed to Afghanistan in June 2013 as a nurse with the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, where she was attached to a joint special operations task force.

Just three months into her first tour, while on a night mission in Kandahar Province to capture a Taliban bomb-making facility, she was killed by an explosive device while trying to help a fallen soldier. She is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.

In November 2020, Levin convened a panel of servicemembers, veterans, and community leaders to collaborate on recommendations to rename the San Diego VA Medical Center after a woman veteran. The panel recommended renaming the medical center after Moreno and an area inside the facility after Navy Capt. Kathleen M. Bruyere, a longtime San Diego resident who helped shape the Navy’s policies on sexual discrimination.

Levin’s bill was cosponsored by the entire California delegation in the House of Representatives.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.