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Morley becomes second lieutenant

Col. Gaston Bathalon, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine commander congratulates second lieutenant Jessica Morley, right, at a commissioning ceremony Jan. 9. in Natick, Mass. Submitted Photo

Second lieutenant Jessica Morley, a Bemidji native, is completing her Basic Officer Leadership Course with the US Army Medical Department Center and School at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

Morley previously served in the Natick Soldier Systems Center at the United States Research Institute of Environmental Medicine where she did medical research for over three years.

Morley became a second lieutenant in a commissioning ceremony Jan. 9 at the Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass.

Becoming a second lieutenant meant Morley went from an enlisted soldier to a commissioned officer.

Morley was one of 12 soldiers and civilians selected by a military board of five senior officers in October.

The commissioning was based on her education. Morley holds a bachelor's degree in environmental science at Bemidji State University.

A total of 83 applicants were reviewed by the board.

"I've been working on it for a long time," Morley said.

Becoming an officer requires Morley to fulfill a three-year commitment, but Morley is still considering whether or not to make the military a long-term career.

Training and studying at the AMEDD requires a lot of work and Morley arrived at Fort Sam Houston on Jan. 18 suffering from a respiratory flu that lasted for three weeks.

"It was awful," Morley said of the illness. "You can't miss class, so you just do your best and medicate yourself as best as you can."

Though attending classes while being sick was a struggle, Morley didn't let it slow her down.

A typical day for Morley consists of waking up at 4:30 a.m. for physical training. After eating a meal and getting dressed, she attends classes until 4 p.m. Time is divided between the classroom and field work.

Much of Morley's free time is spent studying and working out to stay in peak physical condition. On the weekends, she will relax or network with other officers.

Morley will spend seven months training at Fort Sam Houston before being assigned to the Brigade Support Medical Company, 2nd Brigade, 1rst Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan.

At Fort Riley, Morley will work as an environmental science officer.

Morley's step-father, Art Kliniske, says that her drive to succeed has helped fuel her military career.

"She's always strived to do 100 percent in whatever she does," Kliniske said. "She's very bright and catches on very quickly."