A former U.S. Army helicopter pilot, United States Senator Tammy Duckworth was living in DeKalb, Illinois, working at Rotary International while pursuing a Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University, when her Peoria-headquartered unit was mobilized in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On November 12, 2004, Tammy’s UH‐60 Black Hawk helicopter was hit by a rocket propelled grenade. She lost both legs and partial use of her right arm in the explosion, but declined a military medical retirement and continued to drill as a Lieutenant Colonel in Springfield with the Illinois Army National Guard. As a result of her injuries, Tammy earned a Purple Heart.
While recovering from her injuries at Walter Reed, Tammy became an advocate for Veterans. After becoming Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs in Springfield, she implemented many first-in-the-nation programs to alleviate suffering from post-traumatic stress, improve traumatic brain injury screening and reduce homelessness among Veterans. In 2009, President Obama nominated Tammy to be U.S. Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. There, she headed the federal VA’s effort to end Veteran homelessness and was a leader in initiatives for female Veterans. She also implemented innovative efforts such as creating the Office of Social Media and Online Communications and the Office for Tribal Government Relations.
Tammy was elected to the United States Senate in 2016 and has been a strong voice for Illinois families since her first successful election to the House of Representatives in 2012, where she served on the Armed Services and Oversight and Government Reform Committees. In the Senate, Tammy is focused on helping Illinois’ working families get ahead through investing in infrastructure and job development, protecting Social Security and Medicare, promoting civil rights and equal rights for all Illinoisans and advocating for our Veterans. She serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Environment & Public Works Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. Tammy continues with her lifelong mission of supporting, protecting and keeping the promises we’ve made to our Veterans.
Tammy lives with her husband Bryan, their daughters Abigail and Maile and her mother Lamai.
Tammy Duckworth is a retired member of the Army National Guard. Use of her military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.