Served our Country in the Military and now in Office- Congressman-elect Tammy Duckworth

Posted December 10, 2012




This is the seventh in a series of profiles of the 12 veterans elected to Congress for the first time in November.

Representative-Elect Tammy Duckworth was working on a project for Rotary International to provide wheelchairs for the disabled in developing countries including Iraq, when she was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Captain in the National Guard and deployed in 2004.

Ms. Duckworth was one of the first women to fly combat missions in Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot in 2004. Her helicopter was hit by an RPG, costing her both legs and partial use of her right arm. Ms. Duckworth earned a Purple Heart for her combat injuries. It was during her recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she became an advocate for her fellow soldiers, and where she was first recruited to run for the House of Representatives.

Despite her loss in the close race, Ms. Duckworth continued to serve as a Major in the Illinois National Guard and became Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, where she implemented programs to address post traumatic stress, improve traumatic brain injury screening, and reduce homelessness among Veterans. In 2009, President Obama appointed Ms. Duckworth as an Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In her tenure at VA, she worked to improve the standard of care for veterans. She also help establish the new Office of Online Communications to increase accessibility and accountability of Veterans resources.

Born in Bangkok, Thailand, of a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Ms. Duckworth settled in Hawai’i when she was 16 and eventually attended the University of Hawai’i. Ms. Duckworth received a Masters of Arts in international affairs at George Washington University, while completing the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

She will represent Illinois’ eighth district, which includes part of Chicago’s northwest suburbs.