LONDON (AFP) – A former Miss England may be deployed in Afghanistan as early as next year after she returned to the Army following her term as a beauty queen.
Corporal Katrina Hodge, who has already served in Iraq, swapped active duty for the glitz and glamour of the catwalk when she took the title last January.
But she has now handed over her crown and is back on exercise in Army fatigues preparing for a possible tour of war-torn Afghanistan.
The married soldier, decorated for her bravery in Basra, today insisted she was glad to be back in the forces and ready to take on the challenge.
"At the end of the day, it's my job. If that's what I've got to do, then that's what I've got to do," she said.
"It's hard to be excited about going to Afghanistan but it's the reality of our job. Our job is be out there, protecting our country."
Corporal Hodge, 24, tied the knot with husband Neil - a soldier whose surname cannot be disclosed for security reasons - in a secret ceremony in Sri Lanka in June.
Three months later, when her spell as Miss England came to an end, she joined a new regiment and was thrown back into Army life.
This involved a month on exercise and tough training to get her up to speed.
"I'm not going to lie, it was hard to come back," she said.
"It's definitely a change of lifestyle from having your hair and make-up done every day to being in your combats and having your hair scraped back. I was thrown in at the deep end and realised that this was reality.