Aviation Soldier departs Fort Rucker for Green to Gold program
Staff Sgt. Cortney A. Moore stands for a photo on campus at Columbus State University. The Aviation Soldier will now focus on collegiate study for two years as part of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Green to Gold Active-Duty Option Program, on her path to becoming a commissioned officer. (Photo courtesy of Columbus State University) (Photo Credit: (Courtesy)) VIEW ORIGINAL

Just a few days ago, Staff Sgt. Cortney A. Moore was a small group leader at Fort Rucker’s Noncommissioned Officer Academy, where she taught Unmanned Aircraft Systems operators to become leaders.

Today, she is all set to hit the books for the next two years, as part of the Army ROTC Green to Gold Program - Active Duty Option. The program provides eligible, Regular Army enlisted Soldiers an opportunity to earn their first baccalaureate or graduate degree, and earn a commission as an officer.

Moore said she loved being part of the UAS community and mentoring enlisted leaders at the NCO Academy, and welcomes the chance to use her enlisted experience to make an even bigger difference as an officer and servant leader.

“I’m very excited,” Moore said. “I think I’m going to set the bar higher, so people can really see the expectation of what it means to take care of your Soldiers. I think I can help coach a lot of people into being able to understand what it means to be even just in the Army, whether it’s enlisted or officer, I think I’ll have the impact to really drive both,” she said.

Moore’s Army journey started when she was in her third year of college, and decided to make a “right hand turn” into a recruiter station to enlist.

“I saw the movies, I saw the camaraderie, and it’s something I wanted to be part of,” Moore said. “I decided I didn’t want to live with any regret.”

She served as a UAS operator with the Army’s Military Intelligence branch, and eventually re-classed to a much larger platform, the MQ-1C Gray Eagle.

She also has under her belt a deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a Hunter UAS operator in 2015.

At the Fort Rucker NCO Academy, Moore focused on instructing team leaders to become squad leaders for the UAS community.

She summed up what she enjoyed about the academy in one word.

“Everything,” she said. “The people. I’ve never been cared for in my entire career like I have here. The workload is extreme, but it’s very rewarding.”

Moore enjoys taking care of Soldiers and the teamwork that they build, and teaching comes naturally to her, she said.

“It’s pretty easy for me to understand people’s backgrounds, where they came from, why they are the way they are, and how they learn,” Moore said.

Moore hopes to instill qualities like empathy in Soldiers she leads, and create a meaningful framework for them.

“Understanding others’ perspectives, the passion for what they do…and really the ‘why we’re here’. I like to instill those things within my Soldiers because they need to know the reason why they are doing what they’re doing, and they are more likely to follow,” she said.

Moore began preparing for the Green to Gold - Active Duty Option board back in June of 2020. She applied to the university and was accepted, and knew she qualified based on credit hours, so then she could focus on other aspects like her application, letters of recommendation and personal statement.

Of the 2,600 Soldiers Army-wide who began the Green to Gold program application process, Moore was one of approximately 390 Soldiers whose packets were approved by a board in the first phase of the process to move on to the next phase. After completing a physical and submitting additional required documents, Moore received her award letter.

Sgt. 1st Class Eric G. Pantoja-Torres, branch chief at the NCO Academy, said over the three years he had Moore on his team, she grew to become one of the best leaders in Army Aviation.

“Green to Gold is the perfect opportunity for a Soldier of Staff Sgt. Moore’s caliber. She will make an outstanding commissioned officer and share her experiences as an NCO with everyone she comes into contact with,” Pantoja-Torres said.

“Working with Staff Sgt. Moore and seeing her progress through personal and professional goals is without question one of the most significant experiences of my career. I can honestly say, I feel like I have learned more from her than she has from me,” he said.

Attending Columbus State University will allow Moore to be collocated with her husband, Staff Sgt. Jeremy A. Moore, who serves as a drill sergeant at Fort Benning, Ga., and also provide more extracurricular options for their daughter.

Moore said she is thankful for her family, a team leader who first talked to her about the Green to Gold program years ago, and the NCO Academy senior leadership.

“Nothing we ever do is our own success. We are always a member of a team, no matter where we are and no matter what we are doing,” she said.

With some college credit already under her belt, Moore now plans to focus on a bachelor’s degree in health sciences.

With the Green to Gold Program - Active Duty Option, Moore maintains her active duty status throughout the two-year program, which includes an ROTC requirement. Upon completion of the degree program, she will commission as an active duty 2nd Lieutenant.

For more information on the Green to Gold Program - Active Duty Option, visit https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/current-and-prior-service/advance-your-career/green-to-gold/green-to-gold-active-duty.html .