Story contributed by Savannah Rossetti and Constantine Tolias
Often called the “varsity sport” of Army ROTC, the Raider Battalion Ranger Challenge Team takes part in physically and mentally demanding competitions that involve a series of events that not only require endurance but also problem-solving and military skills.
The team competes against squads from other universities in challenges involving the Army Physical Fitness Test, pull-ups, a written test, land navigation, weapons assembly, a rope bridge and a 10-kilometer forced road march.
This past year, junior Ellie Collins, of Miamisburg, was the team’s first female captain. And this fall, she will become the Raider Battalion’s Cadet Battalion commander, the top cadet posting.
“ROTC has taught me how to dig deep and push harder than I have ever had to before,” said Collins. “ROTC has also given me the ability and opportunity to lead others and push others farther than they thought before.”
The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a college-based program that trains students to become commissioned officers of the armed forces.
Before coming to Wright State, Collins played NCAA Division III women’s basketball at Thomas More College in Kentucky. The team was the national champion in 2015 and 2016.
“I was complacent in my life, just playing basketball, and I wanted to do and accomplish more,” said Collins. “I looked into enlisting, but I thought I could offer the Army more by becoming an officer. I wanted a challenge, and ROTC was the challenge I needed.”
Collins, an international studies major, said she found more fulfillment in the academic challenges and opportunities offered at Wright State.
“I chose to focus on international economics and study the intricacies of countries, not just the United States,” she said. “I am very interested in studying the economic development of different countries and why countries succeed or fail.”
Collins has excelled both academically and in Army ROTC.
“ROTC has taken me from a leader on the court to a leader in every setting,” Collins said.
Pursuing even greater accomplishments, Collins attended the U.S. Army’s Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, this summer. She and her fellow paratroopers-in-training learned military parachuting techniques and pursued their coveted silver wings.
Following graduation and commissioning in 2017, Collins intends to seek to become one of the Army’s first female infantry officers.
“It is the most physically and mentally challenging Army branch,” she said.