Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth is a retired Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel and a veteran of the Iraq War.
Born in Bangkok in 1968 to an American father and a Thai mother of Chinese descent, Duckworth grew up in Hawaii and later Illinois. She served in the United States Army Reserve and the Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in 2004 as a helicopter pilot. In 2004, she lost both of her legs and partial use of her right arm due to injuries sustained during combat. She was awarded the Purple Heart for her service.
After her military service, Duckworth served as the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and later as assistant secretary of veterans affairs under President Barack Obama.
In 2012, Duckworth was elected to the House of Representatives, becoming the first Thai-American woman elected to Congress. During her two terms in the House, she was an advocate for veterans’ issues, women’s rights, and LGBTQ+ rights. She was elected to the Senate in 2016.