Helo Pilot Lost Her Legs In 2004 RPG Attack
Major Ladda "Tammy"
Duckworth, a former US Army pilot who lost both legs in a November
2004 grenade attack on her Blackhawk helicopter in Iraq, is now on
the frontlines of a very different battle: to serve in the US House
Duckworth, a democrat, narrowly won her party's nomination for
Congress in a primary race last week for the House seat being
vacated by Republican Henry Hyde, who is retiring after 32 years in
"My experience in Iraq made me realize, and during the recovery,
that I could have died," said Duckworth, who gets around either by
using a wheelchair, or metal prosthetic legs and a cane. "And I
just had to do more with my life."
The Associated Press reports Duckworth is one of approximately
10 veterans of the current US military campaigns in Iraq and
Afghanistan to be running for Congress. All but one of them are
Those nine candidates are being called "The Fighting Democrats,"
and are united by a common contention that their wartime experience
allows them to criticize the war in Iraq, while also shrugging off
the labels of naivete' and weakness commonly thrust on political
opponents to the war.
Duckworth, a 38-year-old major in the Illinois Army National
Guard who is married to a captain in the Guard, is likely the
best-known of these candidates.
"I just thought that we never should have invaded Iraq," said
Duckworth Wednesday, one day after she narrowly edged out
businesswoman Christine Cegelis for the Democratic nomination. "We
should have gone after Osama bin Laden and our enemies in
Afghanistan who attacked us on our soil here in the United
"If my unit were deployed [to Iraq], I would go again," added
Duckworth. "I think it is important to do your duty."
Duckworth faces an uphill battle in the November race in the
heavily Republican 6th District, where she faces a popular state
Senator, Peter Roskam, who ran unopposed in the GOP primary.
In fact, many analysts say, at this point it is unlikely many of
the Democrat veterans running this year will win their races.
Stephen Hess, a professor of media and public affairs at George
Washington University, said most of the veterans are "running in
places where they're sacrificial lambs," against well-known and