On Sunday, June 5, the District of Columbia experienced its first Miss USA pageant victory in 14 years, when Army Reserve officer Deshauna Barber, 26, was crowned. She will now go on to represent the District of Columbia in the Miss Universe competition.
Coming from a military background, it was no surprise when Barber decided to enlist at the age of 17. Due to her father’s involvement in the U.S. Army (he is a retired Army Master Sargent), she relocated many times growing up, living in North Carolina, Nebraska, Minnesota, Virginia and, most recently, D.C. In 2011, she graduated from Virginia State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business management.
Barber currently serves as an IT analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce, in addition to her status as logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, Maryland.
When Miss USA judge Joe Zee asked her position on the recent opening of all combat jobs to women, noting that “some have questioned if this has put political correctness over our military’s ability to perform at the highest level,” Barber responded: “As a woman in the United States Army, I think it is an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate into every branch of the military.” She stated that women are “just as tough as men … gender does not limit us in the United States Army.”
Barber plans to use her platform as Miss USA to promote awareness of health issues facing veterans, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and to build support for suicide prevention in the armed forces.