Soldier Selected for ‘Operation Rising Star’

A Fort Riley soldier has been selected as one of 12 finalists to compete in the Army-wide “Operation Rising Star” talent competition Nov. 18 to Dec. 9 in San Antonio, Texas.

According to Fort Riley, as a finalist, Army Spc. Xochilt Ramirez-Luna of the 97th Military Police battalion will train with a professional vocal coach and choreographer in San Antonio to prepare for four performances, which take place Nov. 29, Dec. 1, Dec. 3 and Dec. 4.

Each round of the finals will be streamed live at Viewers can then vote for their favorite contestant to help send him or her to the next round. Final scores are weighted 50 percent from online voting and 50 percent from a panel of judges.

“I’m looking forward to winning,” a confident Ramirez-Luna said. “I think it’s cool that I’m able to represent my organization by doing something I really love. It’s an honor and I want to put up the best show I can so everyone knows that Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division have the best soldiers.”

Ramirez-Luna never sang or performed in front of others until she joined the Army.

“In high school, I never sang for anyone, for any reason, ever,” she said. “The first time was at basic training graduation. I felt really insecure about singing until people started telling me I sounded good.”

This is the 11th year of the Army’s Operation Rising Star competition, and the rivalry is expected to be fierce again this year. Ramirez-Luna’s chain of command is confident she’ll do well.

“The battalion commander and I are extremely proud of Spc. Ramirez,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Ray Counts II. “Not only is she a gifted and talented singer, but she is also an outstanding soldier. She is a tremendous role model and I cannot think of a better soldier to represent Fort Riley, the 1st Infantry Division and the military police corps.”

Visit for more information about the Operation Rising Star competition.


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