A member of the US Army Reserves’ officer corps and child of two veterans has been crowned Miss USA 2016.
According to the Daily Mail, 1st Lieutenant Deshauna Barber of Washington DC was crowned Miss USA in Las Vegas on Sunday night, beating Miss Hawaii and Miss Georgia for the crown.
The 26-year-old Department of Commerce IT analyst and commander of the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit was reported to have broken down in tears as she won the contest.
Barber’s military career in the US Army Reserves began at around 18 years old. “I ended up going through the ROTC program at university and commissioned to be officer in the United States Army in 2011. It’s been the greatest decision I’ve ever made”’ she said.
While Barber has never deployed, she has been on record in saying that she would jump at the opportunity to deploy if President Barack Obama ordered her to do so.
“I’d be there in a heartbeat,” she told the Las Vegas Sun. “That’s what I signed up for 10 years ago, and that’s a commitment that I still stand on today.”
Barber -whose parents and siblings have also served in the military- is an outspoken advocate of women in combat roles, saying women are just as tough as men.
“As a commander of my unit, I’m powerful, I am dedicated,” she said. “Gender does not limit us in the United States.”
Barber said that her passion lies in serving the men and women of the US Armed Forces, imploring the US Presidential candidates to focus more on veteran’s issues, rather than unimportant topics.
Prior to being crowned Miss USA Sunday night, Barber shared a photo of herself backstage on social media.
“No matter happens in 2.5 hours, I am thankful to have represented the District Of Columbia and Military Service Women around the world on the Miss USA stage,” she wrote. “The stereotype for Women In The Military is OFFICIALLY BROKEN. The stereotype for Pageant Women is OFFICIALLY BROKEN *Drops Mic*”
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