Army staff sergeant: Ms. Veteran America 2016 finalist

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tori Schultz
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

I applied to be a part of the Ms. Veteran America 2016 competition initially because the idea of showcasing the women beyond the uniform was the most incredible idea for a competition I had ever heard of,” exclaimed Army Staff Sgt. Desiree Pabon, NCO in charge of supply assigned to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

“Right now I am a finalist and have made it to the top 25 out of over 100 women who applied for the competition.”

Pabon enlisted in the U.S. Army when she was 17 in search of a sense of purpose. Growing up as a military brat she admired the camaraderie the Army had amongst their ranks. Eleven years after her enlistment, Pabon has deployed twice and been to six different duty stations.

“My primary duty is logistical support for CENTCOM and ensuring soldiers are outfitted with the proper uniforms and equipment needed for their deployment,” said Pabon. “I currently supervise two soldiers and two Airmen; being a leader and taking care of those around me has been my motivation in my career.”

Pabon learned about the Ms. Veteran America competition during a deployment via social media.

 “I told myself that one day I would be a part of this competition,” said Pabon. “Once I arrived at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, I saw the opportunity to volunteer and be a part of the local community.”

After researching the ins and outs of the competition, Pabon learned that the contest was much more than showcasing beauty and poise.

“I quickly learned our key role in this competition was advocating for homeless women veterans,” said Pabon. “I learned that women veterans are also four times more likely to be homeless when compared to female non-veterans in the U.S. I chose to be a part of the solution and to use my voice.”

Using her voice, she started a private organization on MacDill whose mission is to reach out in the local community to women veterans.

We try to take some of the financial responsibility from the women transitioning from transitional housing by providing them with necessities that they will need in their new homes,” said Pabon. “This way the money that they have saved will go towards their new home and financial responsibilities.”


Pabon also held classes at transitional homes, equipping women with the tools needed to reach financial responsibility.


 “During my social media campaign and local fundraisers I have been able to raise over $8,000 ...,” said Pabon. “My goal is $11,000 for my 11 years of service.”

Pabon’s Sgt. Maj., Pamela Duggan, even introduces Pabon as “Staff Sgt. Pabon, our future Ms. Veteran America 2016 who is advocating for our homeless women veterans across the United States.”

Pabon’s leadership describes her as positive, self-motivated, strong and reliable. She puts her heart and soul into making life better for everyone around her and is dedicated to representing the Army and women veteran with dignity and respect. 

Pabon is humble and does things because she feels good about giving back to those that are less fortunate,” said Duggan. “She is a willing soul and a true blessing to support and mentor. She is an awesome mother, daughter, friend, mentor and leader.”


At the beginning of her journey, Pabon genuinely didn’t know that there was a homeless women veteran population. Now, as a finalist, she makes a conscious effort in every aspect of her life to do better and advocate for those in need.


Pabon will attend finals Oct. 9, 2016, in Washington D.C. Winning the competition, for Pabon, would mean having her voice heard on a larger platform.

 “I have been blessed with amazing supporters and leaders who support my journey,” said Pabon. “At the end of the day the most humbling part of the competition is the people around me who have become advocates without even knowing. Just by one person lending an ear to my voice I am able to reach more people.”