Women’s History Month: Tammy Duckworth
Tammy Duckworth is the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand.
Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran who served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot. In 2004, she lost her right leg near the hip, her left leg below the knee and sustained damage to her right arm when the UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents. She was also the first female double amputee from the war. In recognition of her bravery and heroism she was presented with the Purple Heart. She was later promoted to Major and presented with the Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal.
Following her recovery, Duckworth became an advocate for veterans and their families. As Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, Duckworth created tax credit for employers who hired Veterans, established America's first 24 hour Veteran crisis hotline, and developed innovative programs to improve Veterans’ access to housing and health care.
In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Duckworth to be Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. During her time in the VA, she worked to address the unique challenges faced by women and Native American veterans.
Duckworth served in the Army Reserve Forces for 23 years until she announced her retirement at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2014. She has served as Representative for Illinois's 8th Congressional District since 2013.
“Our troops do an incredible job every single day, but our policy makers have not lived up to the sacrifices that our troops make every day.”—Tammy Duckworth