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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Maurissa Wortham: One of the ROTC’s few female Ranger Challenge captains

Courtesy Maurissa Wortham
Cadet batallion commander of the UA Army ROTC Maurissa Wortham (second from the right) with her teammates at training for the ranger challenge on Oct. 7.

Maurissa Wortham, a mechanical engineering senior and cadet battalion commander of the UA Army ROTC program, joined to pursue a career within the military.

Wortham is one of the few female ranger challenge captains the UA has ever had and was the first to lead her team to success in the regional competition this October.

The ranger challenge is an extracurricular activity within ROTC made up of nine individuals that compete in tactical, technical and physical fitness competitions with other ROTC ranger programs from across the country.

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“I didn’t request to be captain of the team but the reason I accepted it was for the leadership improvement,” Wortham said. “Having to coordinate everything was completely my responsibility and my whole job is going to be working with people, so I wanted the experience of coming up with an entire training program and following through with it to help me develop more as a leader.”

Wortham said UA Master Sgt. Carl Haskins helped guide her through her leadership positions and that she would go to him for any help she needed.

Haskins also serves as the senior military science instructor for the UA and has served in the military for years.

“I think you end up having first-class citizens who give back to society,” Haskins said. “I think that for the most parts they’re all incredibly courteous and respectful of others on campus, they seem to be just great young Americans.”

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Wortham, who begins her active duty in May, said most people in ROTC are committed to the military.

Wortham said she feels there is a disconnect on campus and that ROTC is often confused as a club going out to play army.

“When people get injured we don’t receive any benefits as far as going to see a trainer or UA Campus Health Services like some of the athletes do,” Wortham said. “Our training is at least as vigorous as theirs.”

Haskins said UA has a Special Forces Green Beret program—making it one of the few universities in the country that has one.

“From a perspective, that’s a pretty neat thing for the young cadets to take advantage of,” he said.

Haskins said UA tends to provide some of the finest cadets.

“Not only do we keep diversity and inclusivity, but the cadets are also highly trained and skilled inside of medical training and through sensitive topics like sexual assault and harassment, so they actually have a lot of insight in training,” he said.

Wortham said she wants people on campus to be educated on the purpose of ROTC and what it does for campus.

“We have a lot of people involved in different colleges, student government and STEM students,” she said. “We are all very involved on our campus so ROTC is like a job in addition to students who have other jobs, we give back to the school in many other ways.”

Follow Angela Martinez on Twitter.

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