DC 26-year-old Army officer and IT analyst wins the Miss USA pageant

For the first time in 14 years and only third time in history, Miss District of Columbia took home the crown at the Miss USA pageant last night. Deshauna Barber, a 26-year-old Army officer and IT analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce, won first place over Miss Georgia Emanii Davis and Miss Hawaii Chelsea Hardin, who was the runner-up.miss usa 2016###Barber graduated in 2011 from Virginia State University, joined the military at a very young age of 17. Her parents and siblings also serve; her father was deployed overseas to Iraq after the Sept. 11 attacks. “I consider it to be a family tradition,” she said in a pre-show interview of military service. “It’s something that runs through our veins — patriotism and service for this country.”miss usa 2016According to her Miss USA bio, Barber is currently a logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit in Fort Meade, Md. During the pageant, announcers called her “the most disciplined contestant this year.” Her background added context to her much-applauded answer during the Q&A part 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?”

Barber didn’t hesitate. “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,” she said, and there goes lots of cheers from the crowd. “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.”miss usa 2016##

“I’m being able to say that no one pageant girl does the same thing or has the same background, and I’m also saying that no one soldier has the same background and does the same thing,” Barber said. “We can be feminine, we can be in beauty contests, we can be models. So there’s stereotypes on both sides that I feel like I’m breaking by even being here and being able to compete for Miss USA.”

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