Served our Country in the Military and now in Office- Congressman-elect Tulsi Gabbard

Posted December 12, 2012



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

Representative-elect Tulsi Gabbard will be the first female combat veteran and the first Hindu to serve in the U.S. Congress. She completed two tours of duty in the Middle East with the Hawai’i National Guard.

The new congresswoman was born in Leoaloa, American Samoa. Her family moved to Hawai’i when she was two years old. When she was 19, Ms. Gabbard co-founded Healthy Hawai’i Coalition, a nonprofit aimed at protecting the environment and advocating individual and community health. At the age of 21, Gabbard became the youngest person elected to the Hawai’i Legislature, when she was elected to the state House in 2002.

Ms. Gabbard joined the Hawai’i National Guard in 2003, and a year later, she gave up her position in the state legislature to volunteer in the war in Iraq. Ms. Gabbard received several distinguished honor graduate titles and awards at Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training. In her first deployment, she served in a field medical unit as a specialist with a 29th Support Battalion medical company at Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Iraq.

She returned from Iraq in 2006 and moved to Washington, D.C., serving as a legislative aide for Senator Daniel  Akaka. Ms. Gabbard built a grassroots network with Hawai’i’s veteran community. In March 2007, while still working for Senator Akaka, she graduated from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy. She was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and assigned again to the 29th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, serving as a Military Police Platoon Leader.  In 2009, Gabbard voluntarily deployed for a second time with her unit to the Middle East, where she conducted non-military host-nation visits and served as a primary trainer for the Kuwait National Guard.         

She will succeed Senator-elect Mazie Hirono in January, representing all of the islands of Hawai’i, except the southern portion of Oahu.