The life of Spc. Jessica Morley is a busy life. She is first a Soldier at the U.S. Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) working as a Biological Research Assistant and the president of the Natick Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS). Now she is preparing for the Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) Soldier of the Year (SoY) competition.

Morley competed in the Medical Research and Material Command (MRMC) Soldier of the Year competition and finished second, but because the eventual winner was promoted to noncommissioned officer and isn't eligible for the MEDCOM competition, Morley is representing MRMC at the MEDCOM SoY competition.

The competition takes place March 12-20 at Schofield Barracks, Hi.

Even though she technically finished second at the MRMC competition, Morley is ready for the MEDCOM SOY competition.

"I learned some of the things that I need to improve on," said Morley. "I worked to improve my combative skills and now I am level one certified and I have been training with level three and four Soldiers in Rhode Island."

Preparing for the MEDCOM SoY competition, there are many leaders and Soldiers who have helped Morley prepare.

"There are so many people who have been helping me get ready and have been really supportive," said Morley. "Master Sgt. Kevin Buie, Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Persaud, Col. Kevin Keenan, Dr. Steve Muza, Staff Sgt. Eric Jacobsen, Sgt. Sarah Elliott, Sgt. Bryan Wiley, Sgt. Mark Kryskow, Sgt. Robert Nicholson, Spc. Robert Hollins, Spc. Garrett Russell, Sgt. Michael Cavallo, Sgt. Ryan Regalia, Staff Sgt. James Costin, Sgt. Erica Andruk, Sgt. Nemanja Pavlovic, Sgt. Brooke Green and Staff Sgt. Myissha Tompkins have all helped me prepare for this experience. It is fantastic to have such a big chain of support that is behind me and helping me throughout the way."

There are some portions of the competition that Morley had to work hard on.

"There are some Soldier skills that we don't use here as part of our regular job," said Morley. "We have reached out to other units to help me get hands on training to prepare. I have also worked hard to improve my warrior tasks and battle drills and brushed up on my D&C (drill and ceremonies) skills."

A native of Bemidji, Minn., Morley who has been in the Army for two and a half years feels her northern Minnesota upbringing will help her in the land navigation competition.
With the challenges of preparing for the Soldier of the Year competition, Morley has had a lot of support from her other BOSS committee members to keep that program running on all cylinders.

"Sgt. (Ryan) Regalia and Spc. (Robert) Hollings have really been a big help to me with the BOSS program," said Morley. "They really have stepped up, worked hard and taken care of business."

When asked about heading to Hawaii for the competition, Morley is focused on one thing.

"I am there to win," said Morley. "I am a competitive person and always want to win. I will come out of this experience as a better Soldier and a better leader."

If there is one thing the Natick community can bank on, we will be well represented by Spc. Jessica Morley as she competes in the MEDCOM SoY competition.