Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran and Black Hawk pilot whose helicopter was shot down in Iraq. She lost both legs and part of the use of her right arm in the explosion, and was awarded the Purple Heart for her combat injuries. After her recovery at Walter Reed, Tammy ran for the House in 2006. After losing a close race, she became Director of Illinois’ Department of Veterans’ Affairs. In 2009, President Obama appointed her Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs where she sought to improve the standard of care for Vets. She oversaw VA’s effort to end Veteran homelessness and lead initiatives for female Vets and increased accessibility and accountability with the new Office of Online Communications.
She and her husband Bryan, an Army Major, live in Hoffman Estates. She continues to drill as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard.