This year’s newly crowned Miss USA has both beauty and brains in spades – and has also served her country.
Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber will go on to compete in the Miss Universe contest as the winner of Sunday’s 2016 Miss USA competition held at the T-Mobile Arena off the Las Vegas Strip.
Barber, who works as an IT analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington D.C. as well as a Logistics Commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, Maryland, broke down in tears as she won.
The 26-year-old, whose mother, father, brother and sister have also served in the army, claimed the title after giving a strong answer when asked about women in combat, saying that gender doesn’t limit women in America.
Barber said that women are just as tough as men during the question-and-answer segment, adding: ‘As a commander of my unit, I’m powerful, I am dedicated. Gender does not limit us in the United States.’
She has previously said that joining the military was the ‘greatest decision’ she has ever made and while she has not yet been deployed overseas, if President Obama asked her to fight in Iraq, she would jump at the opportunity.
‘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.’
‘I think that when it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go. If your life happens to make the ultimate sacrifice for this country, I think it’s the best way.’
Barber was born in Columbus, Georgia, but has lived in multiple states due to her father’s military career before settling in Washington, D.C. Barber’s father served in the Special Forces for 24 years and that’s how he met her mother, who was also in the military.
‘My siblings and I knew when we graduated from high school that we wanted to join,’ she added.
Barer said she joined at 17, while her brother and sister enlisted at 18 right straight out of high school.
‘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.