On Sunday evening, the world witnessed First Lieutenant Deshauna Barber being crowned as Miss USA 2016. Barber is the first-ever military member to win Miss USA, reports ABC News. In a short clip, “Making a Beauty Queen,” the Army Reserve officer and IT analyst from the District of Columbia sheds the military uniform and reports to duty as Miss USA. [Scroll down for video]
Barber was born in Columbus, Georgia to proud military parents. Her 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.
Barber is 26 years old and has served in the Army Reserves since 2011. During the Miss USA pageant, judge Joe Zee asked her whether the Pentagon’s decision to open up all combat roles to women had “put political correctness over our military’s ability to perform,” 1st Lt. Barber responded:
“As a woman in the United States Army, I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate into every branch of the military.”
“We are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I’m powerful, I am dedicated and it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States.”
ABC News – Barber is the first-ever military member to win Miss USA. In a press conference following the event, the 26-year-old lieutenant from Northeast DC said she plans to take a break from the Army Reserves and had already discussed with superiors the possibility of going inactive for a couple of years should she win the title. She said she currently serves two days per month.
“My commander should be watching right now,” Barber said. “Two days a month is definitely not active duty. It is an obligation that I signed up for but they are very flexible in the United States Army Reserves.”
Barber said she plans to use the pageant’s spotlight and her title to support veteran’s causes and tackle the issue of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among military members.
PRESS PLAY Watch “Attention: First Lieutenant Deshauna Barber is reporting for duty as Miss USA”
— Deshauna Barber (@MissUSA) June 6, 2016
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