L. Tammy Duckworth is the United States senator from Illinois who has also served as the U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 8th congressional district. Previously, she served as the Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. As Assistant Secretary, Tammy advised the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on matters relating to media and public affairs. Tammy served as the Director of Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs from 2006-2008. A Major in the Illinois Army National Guard, she served in Iraq as an Assistant Operations Officer and also flew combat missions as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot.
During a mission north of Baghdad in 2004, a rocket-propelled grenade struck the helicopter she was co-piloting. As a result of the attack, Tammy lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm. She received many decorations for her actions, including the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, and the Combat Action Badge. In 2008 and 2009, she completed the Chicago Marathon, fulfilling a promise made at Walter Reed. She has also resumed flying as a civilian pilot.