Active Duty Solider Misses Iraq Rotation to Compete for Miss America Title

by Quentin Blount

Maura Spence-Carroll is an active-duty soldier in the Army. But she will be foregoing this upcoming deployment so she can compete for a Miss America title.

Despite just being crowned Miss Colorado earlier this year, Army Spc. Maura Spence-Carroll had an itch to go serve her country. She even volunteered for a deployment, but her unit wanted her to compete for a title on Miss America instead. She explained as much to Fox News in a recent interview.

“I volunteered and then my unit said, ‘No you’re going to have to go to Miss America. This was before I was Miss Colorado… so they didn’t put me on the manifest.”

So now, she will stick around at her base in Fort Carson near Colorado Springs. One of her top priorities is to work to inform America’s youngest soldiers about taking care of their mental health.

“We need to really address mental health now and show the new generations of soldiers that are coming through that mental health care is something we don’t make a big deal about and that we don’t think of it as being scary,” she said. “It’s just a thing we take care of.”

Army Soldier Turned Miss America Contestant Has Faced Her Own Tragedies

But what makes Maura Spence-Carroll so adamant about the mental health of her fellow soldiers? Well, the Texas Native herself has faced her own share of tragedies. Her five-year-old sister drowned in 2015 after falling off of a dock.

“I have a collection of photos where I’m wearing my crown and sash from being a local teen title holder… and she wanted to be right next to me,” Spence-Carroll explained. “We were very close even though we had that big age gap.”

The Army soldier believes that she can relate her experience of loss and grief to the families of service members who have taken their own lives. She also lost her grandfather, Bob Boyett. He was an Air Force veteran who worked in the military intelligence field.

“I kind of had an epiphany when I started talking about how to stop service members from committing suicide is that we’re not just trying to help the service members themselves but I don’t want their family members to have to experience loss. It never leaves you,” she said. “It’s heavy on your shoulders for the rest of your life. I watched how my mother suffered.”

Maura Spence-Carroll said that at the funeral of her little sister she made a promise: that her sister would take her to Miss America. And now that promise is ultimately going to be fulfilled.

“Now that I’ve won Miss Colorado and am heading to Miss America, I feel like I’m fulfilling that promise to her,” she said.