Twenty-six year-old Army officer and information technology analyst for the U.S Department of Commerce, Deshauna Barber, Miss District of Columbia, was crowned Miss USA at the pageant, held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Barber is one of three in history from D.C. to be crowned at the Miss USA pageant.
According to the pageant’s website, Barber is the daughter of a retired Army master sergeant and she became a quartermaster officer in 2011. She serves for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, Maryland
She said, “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.”
During the pageant, announcers called her “the most disciplined contestant this year.” Her background added context to her much-applauded answer during the question and answer portion of the evening, as her question covered women in combat.
“The Pentagon recently made the decision to open up all combat jobs to women,” judge and stylist Joe Zee said. “Now, some have questioned whether this has put political correctness over our military’s ability to perform at the highest level. What are your thoughts?”
She works full-time as an information technology analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce. Barber hopes to use her profile as Miss USA to highlight the health issues veterans face when they return from combat, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, her bio said.