Deshauna Barber, an Army Reserve officer and IT analyst from the District of Columbia was crowned Miss USA 2016 on Sunday night after beating out Miss Georgia Emanii Davis and Miss Hawaii Chelsea Hardin for first place.
Barber joined the military at age 17 and graduated from Virginia State University in 2011. Her parents and siblings also joined the military. Her father served as a master sergeant and was deployed to Iraq after the September 11 attacks.
“I consider it to be a family tradition,” Barber said in a pre-show interview. “It’s something that runs through our veins — patriotism and service for this country.”
It was when Barber responded to judge Joe Zee’s question during the interview section of the pageant that Barber stole the show and according to viewers on social media, locked up first place.
“The Pentagon recently made the decision to open up all combat jobs to women,” judge 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?”
“As a woman in the United States Army, I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate to every branch of the military. We are just as tough as men,” Barber responded.”As a commander of my unit, I am powerful. I am dedicated. And it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States Army.”
According to Barbers pageant bio, she was commissioned as a quartermaster officer in 2011 and currently serves as a logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, Maryland. She is also working as an IT analyst for the Department of Commerce.
Announcers called her “the most disciplined contestant this year.”
— Deshauna Barber (@MissUSA) June 6, 2016