Army officer is Miss USA 2016

An American model, beauty pageant titleholder, officer in the United States Army Reserve and IT analyst was recently crowned Miss USA 2016 after mounting a strong defense of women in combat roles in the military.

During the question and answer section, the 26-year-old Deshauna Barber from Washington D.C. was asked by judge Joe Zee 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.”

She continued: “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.”

Barber attended Virginia State University and graduated with a degree in business management, and later earned her master’s degree in management information systems and services from University of Maryland University College.

The daughter of a retired Army master sergeant, Barber was commissioned as a quartermaster officer in 2011 and serves as a logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Barber who was in December 2015 crowned Miss District of Columbia USA 2016 works full-time as an IT analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce 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.

Barber won the pageant ahead of first runner-up Chelsea Hardin, Miss Hawaii, and second runner-up Emanii Davis, Miss Georgia.

Miss Barber who was crowned by outgoing titleholder Olivia Jordan of Oklahoma will represent USA at Miss Universe 2016.