Story by WO1 Kevin Farley, Texas State Guard
Captain Cyla Barron, of the Texas State Guard (TXSG) has been selected as a finalist in the Ms. Veteran America competition on October 11, 2020. As one of 25 finalists, she will be competing with contestants from the Army (8), Navy (7), Air Force (7), and Marines (2). Barron is the only contestant representing the TXSG. The competition, originally scheduled to be held in Florida, will be held virtually due to COVID-19.
According to the Ms. Veteran America website: “The Ms. Veteran America competition highlights more than the strength, courage and sacrifice of our nation’s military women, but also reminds us that these women are Mothers, Daughters, Sisters and Wives.”
The purpose of the competition is to highlight the women beyond the uniform and was created to benefit The Final Salute, Inc., an organization established to help support homeless women veterans and their families.
Originally from Seattle, Washington, Barron has lived in Texas for approximately 12 years. Serving in the TXSG for almost seven years, Barron also served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a structural mechanic trained plane captain.
“Initially, I did not want to be a part of [the competition] because I thought it was a pageant and that doesn’t fit who I am. However, once I found out that it was more of a competition with a good balance between pageantry and Veteran causes, I was on board,” said Barron.
However, Barron had never heard of the event until a visit to the Veterans Affairs (VA) earlier in the year.
“After an appointment at the VA, I was in line grabbing something to eat when I met a Vietnam Veteran. I was paying for my food and told him that breakfast was on me, thanking him for his service,” Barron said.
Approximately six months later, the Vietnam Veteran, named Jim, located Barron via Facebook and informed her about Ms. Veteran America.
Jim went on to tell Barron, “I never forgot what you did for me and it meant so much. You should run for Ms. Veteran America because you have a heart for veterans.”
Still not very interested in the competition, Barron looked it up on the internet out of obligation. Then when she discovered that the Ms. Veteran America competition was focused on what she was already doing by supporting veteran causes, Barron had a change of heart.
“My goal is to bring visibility to the causes that I believe are under-represented such as the struggles women face serving and outside of the uniform,” Barron said. “Additionally, I’m hoping to bring visibility to the Texas State Guard and other veteran causes that I am passionate about.”
Barron serves as a volunteer for the Women Marines Association as President and founder of the Heart of Texas Austin Chapter, the OV-10 Bronco Association, PTSD Foundation of America, Patriot’s Hall, VFW Dripping Springs. She has also served as a Big Sister in the Big Sisters/Big Brothers of America, Drive a Senior and other volunteer organizations.
The final competition will consist of interviews, questioning, gown presentation and talent. The questions will be focused on Women in Military History.
When asked how she is preparing for the competition, Barron stated, “I have been practicing my talent and studying a lot!”
As a Texas State Guard woman who provides mission-ready military forces to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies, there is no doubt that Barron will be prepared for the final competition.