June 6, 2016
Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber smiles after being crowned Miss USA during the 2016 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas, on June 5.LAS VEGAS — The newly crowned Miss USA is a 26-year-old Army officer from the District of Columbia who gave perhaps the strongest answer of the night when asked about women in combat.
(Photo: Jason Ogulnik/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
"As a woman in the United States Army, I think ... we are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated," Deshauna Barber said. "Gender does not limit us in the United States."
The winner of Sunday's 2016 Miss USA competition held at the T-Mobile Arena off the Las Vegas Strip will go on to compete in the Miss Universe contest.
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."
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